OPA: DPS ignored audit reports • Most recommendations have remained unheeded since 1993, according to public auditor Leo L. Lamotte
Despite the urgency, the Department of Public Safety has continued to ignore recommendations from previous audit reports of the Office of Public Auditor, which may have led to present problems confronting the vital government agency.
The department has also failed to respond to audit requirements on previous fiscal years in spite of the requests from Finance Sec. Lucy Nielsen, according to legislators.
At least 10 audit reports have been conducted by OPA in the past 10 years, four of which involved Bureau of Motor Vehicles while the rest included audit of firearms licensing, time-keeping, grants management and vehicle inspection.
But most of the suggestions offered by the public auditor for action remain unheeded and are still outstanding, said OPA chief Leo LaMotte in a report to the House Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations.
The committee is conducting an oversight on the DPS following last March’s prison standoff that was blamed on the alleged inhuman conditions of the correctional facilities, and the spate of jailbreaks in the last few months.
According to LaMotte, the recent audits on BMV and firearms licensing found internal control weaknesses on collection, registration and licensing procedures as well as lack of written procedures on document flow and processing.
He said 16 of the 25 recommendations made through these audits, mostly pertaining to development of written policies and procedures, have yet been implemented since 1993.
Although the records six years ago showed that nearly half of the 1,430 firearms licenses had expired and not been renewed, there currently may be proliferation of unlicensed guns on the island.
LaMotte said DPS has yet to act on the recommendations to set up implementing guidelines that govern the issuance of firearms license to only eligible persons who have to comply with a set of requirements, such as court clearance, doctor or hospital clearance and proof of residency and age.
Likewise, the department does not have clear regulations against employees who may have violated the Government Vehicle Act as the OPA’s recommendation to authorize department heads to implement is still pending.
In the oversight hearing held last week, public safety officials stressed the problems plaguing the department are the result of insufficient government funding amid tightening of the fiscal spending.
But lawmakers said otherwise as they might be the outcome lack of leadership and mismanagement — two factors which the committee is trying to address.