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Secretary of State's 2017-18 Audit Plan

Title: Secretary of State's 2017-18 Audit Plan

 Secretary of State


The State of Oregon

900 Court Street NE, Salem, Oregon 97310  -  oregon.sos@xxxxxxxxxx

Secretary Richardson

Secretary of State Richardson's 2017-2018 Audit Plan

As Oregon’s Chief Auditor, I am proud to announce the 2017-18 Audit Plan. The Audit Plan is a new document our Secretary of State’s office will be releasing annually. It includes a brief overview of the functions of the Audits Division and a list of planned audits for 2017-2018, including initial scope and objectives. (Additional audits may be added to the Plan, as circumstances warrant.)

This year’s plan includes audits focused on security and information technology; vulnerable populations; finance, revenue, and fiscal sustainability; education; and, public health and safety.

The Audit Plan addresses two commitments I made during last year’s campaign: first, we’ll be tracking education money from the Department of Education to Portland Public School District as a focal point (PPD is the state’s largest school district with 49,189 students). In addition, I heard the pleas of women who are angry and frustrated about the number of Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) kits that are sitting on Oregon law enforcement open investigation shelves, while rapists remain on the streets. The backlog of “rape kits” was the subject of a 2015 audit, which found the number of unprocessed SAFE kits was substantial. We’ll do a follow-up audit of the Oregon State Police Forensic Services Division to see what progress has been made in processing and closing these tragic criminal cases and putting the perpetrators behind bars.

If you are interested in how our Audits Division functions, how audits are chosen, and the list of proposed audits for the next two years, please read the 2017-18 Audit Plan.

What you will not see in the Audit Plan is a listing for the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program, Cover Oregon, or the Columbia River Crossing project. I have not forgotten about my promises to audit these three incredibly expensive and wasteful boondoggles. Each of them will get attention during my term in office after more urgent audits are concluded.

The BETC program was subject to an independent audit conducted in 2016. I have personally reviewed that Audit Report and other sources of relevant information, and I’ll write my analysis in an upcoming newsletter. Although during last year’s campaign, I promised a thorough audit of the BETC program, now that I have access to all the information available to the Secretary of State, I have sufficient knowledge to provide the findings needed to avoid repeating the BETC debacle. In short, with the limited personnel and resources in our Audits Division, I’m making a “quarterback call” and will focus those resources where they can have the greatest impact for the future.

The Cover Oregon audit will occur during my term, but must wait until after the more urgent Oregon Health Authority (OHA) audit and follow-up audits are completed. OHA continues to be a top audit priority and is embroiled in scandal over wasting tens of millions of tax dollars for benefits paid to ineligible recipients. The waste figures presented in last spring’s “OHA Audit Alert,” underestimated the true extent of the problem. Now, OHA has a new director, Pat Allen, who deserves to know the full extent of the hole OHA dug for itself. When current OHA audits are completed, we’ll refocus on determining the lessons learned from the Cover Oregon calamity.

The Columbia River Crossing audit will have to wait until our transportation industry/project auditors are available. This will occur during my term and before the next Columbia River bridge replacement project gets underway.

In conclusion, making today’s 2017-18 Audit Plan public is just another step we are taking in your Secretary of State’s Audits Division to make our government more open and transparent. By publicly announcing the agencies and topics we intend to audit, as well as by sharing our vision for the Audits Division moving forward, we hold ourselves to the same standards of accountability and transparency we are looking for in all state agencies.

The money you pay in taxes is precious, and you deserve to know that someone is watching out for your best interests. As your Secretary of State, it is my pledge to do all in my power to help Oregon state government be more economical, efficient, and effective. It is an honor to serve as your Secretary of State.

Dennis Richardson

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