Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Governor's Waste/Fraud/Abuse Commission

Oh, there's plenty to do when reducing the State of Wisconsin's wasted money problems.  The Commission issued its report which is worth at least a quick read.  My only problem with the Commission?  Far too many politicians, not enough nail-spitting private-sector types.


Here's a good question:

Why, for instance, is an agency that has relocated to reduce lease cost by $500,000 not required to reduce
their budget by that same $500,000 but instead allowed to use it towards their lapses budget after budget?

Here's a somewhat mysterious passage which tells you that you DON'T really want to know the answer:

Paying a premium for working overtime is required by federal law under the Federal Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA). One and one-half times regular base rate for overtime is what is required under FLSA. Most private employees would believe getting paid overtime at 1.5 times their regular base rate is reasonable and fair. Overtime rates paid to state employees should be in accordance with FLSA.

You mean to tell me that "overtime" for State employees is MORE than 1.5x straight-time?

Dont' tell me that answer.  I'll puke.

The largest single obstacle in the path of reform?

IT needs to be a separate agency from the Department of Administration with a strong leader to keep projects on track and make sure that best practices are followed. Milestones should be set and in place prior to any project being undertaken. Large projects should be broken into smaller, manageable projects with specific goals and timelines including milestones. Managers and employees should be rewarded or held accountable based on these goals and timelines. Prior to developing any new information system a review of alternatives such as systems developed by other states or vendors should be undertaken.

"Reforming" the State's IT group failed, miserably, about 20 years ago.  If you really expect a reform to take place, recalcitrant State managers must be fired, immediately, loudly and publicly.  State employees who are undermining the project?  Fired, immediately, loudly, and publicly.  Whoever takes on this bunch will probably demand a very high compensation (and bodyguards would be nice.)  They will earn it.  Don't go "cheap" on this hire.

Under the "School Administrators Are Oooohhh, Sooooo, Smart" label we have this:

...the Commission conducted a survey of school districts in regards to how they procure goods and services. The survey showed 20% of districts had as one of their top five wants to work with other districts and CESA’s was to reduce health insurance costs. The survey also showed 70% of the 305 district respondents did not know what VendorNet was; the state procurement website that has the potential to reduce the costs of goods and services purchased by school districts. VendorNet allows local governments to purchase from
state contracts. The state Bureau of Procurement claims savings on VendorNet can range from between 20 and 60 percent off retail prices.

Under "Are You KIDDING Me?":

The State of Wisconsin and UW System spend nearly $53 million to lease space at 466 locations statewide per year. Rental rates, per square foot at these locations for the most part range from $.14 for DNR storage space in Rhinelander to $79.82 for storage in Verona.

First-class Downtown Milwaukee office space (triple-net):  $20-22.00/s.f.

Gee, we're not surprised:

...and most state agencies supervisor to general employee ratios are much lower than nationally accepted levels.

(Act 10 will solve that problem very quickly.)

The "We Fixed It!!!" line of BS:

The [FoodShare] error rate dropped dramatically between 2008 and 2009, the state subsequently received
an award of federal funding and the contractor was paid. However, it is possible that the drop in the error rate may not have resulted from improved error detection and prevention practices, but from changes in agency reporting methods. It was indicated to the Commission that some of the criteria to define an ‘error’ were simply removed.

And the "No DOH!!" conclusion:

...there are four major factors leading to the inadequacies in public assistance program integrity efforts.
1. Growth in program scope and enrollment without corresponding increases in fraud prevention and identification efforts
2. Reduction in collection efforts
3. Shifts in management priorities and federal limits on enforcement actions
4. Sanctions not acting as a deterrent to fraud

There's plenty more!  Feel free to follow the link.


Anonymous said...

So, they're getting DOUBLE TIME as overtime pay for many of their hours, unlike the 'average Joe.'

The report states: "some collective bargaining contracts were negotiated prior to passage of FLSA. Some of the provisions in these contracts artificially added hours in pay status to FLSA
calculations which increase premium overtime costs."

So, those provisions should have been changed with the arrival of FLSA - time to get on with it.

The Governor pointed out these 'abuses' that were possible through collective bargaining agreements when this 'budget battle' began, but the media as a whole ignored that story.

Did you read some of the examples and view the charges on overtime paid? Some of the Sr. officers received OVERTIME pay that was GREATER THAN (almost twice!) their annual salaries!

Yep, that's an abuse!

jimspice said...

Thank you for this. Waste/Fraud/Abuse is something both sides should be able to get behind 100%. Why not urge your brethren to write a letter, make a call? Personally, I'm sending an email as .... wait ... I type. Please do the same.

Good stuff.