Last Modified: Thursday, January 30, 2014 10:40 AM
The Calcasieu Parish School Board’s 2012-2013 comprehensive financial report received a clean opinion from an independent accounting firm. But auditors found issues dealing with work orders that were not properly signed and one employee getting paid overtime that was not documented properly.
The report from the Monroe-based firm Allen, Green & Williamson was released by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office on Monday. Kirby Bruchhaus, the School Board’s chief financial officer, said the 225-page report will be presented at the board’s budget meeting next month.
The audit found that 13 of the 40 work orders in the transportation department “were missing either the date of completion or a required signature,” and that one of the workers could not be located. Bruchhaus said the problem stemmed from maintenance workers not being at the mechanic shop once a repaired school bus was picked up.
According to the report, internal controls require the “person who performs the work, the person who reviewed the work performed and the person who requested the work performed all sign off on the work orders to ensure the work was performed as requested.” Work orders must also include the date the services are requested and when the work is completed.
The School Board’s response in the audit said the work orders “will be completed with the required information and signed by the mechanic performing the work.” Mechanics who assist in the assigned work will also sign the work orders.
The audit also found that one employee’s supervisor approved $6,988 in overtime “which was not properly documented.” The “hours reported as being worked on hand written time sheets did not match the documentation supplied to the payroll department.” The overtime was charged to Striving Readers, a U.S. Department of Education program that is designed to improve reading skills for middle and high school students.
The School Board said in the report that it is reviewing its overtime and supplemental pay policies and reminding administrators “of guidelines concerning any extra pay for employees.” Bruchhaus said officials are working on overtime logs that would require employees to certify what they are working on every 15 to 30 minutes.
He said the audit also made several suggestions to improve efficiency. One concerned some copies of contracts that were “signed by employees other than the Superintendent and the Board President.”
The School Board responded, saying all administrators and department heads will be reminded that contractually binding signatures must be from the superintendent or board president. A cumulative file of contracts signed will be maintained in the superintendent’s office.
“It’s much more simple for an auditing firm to analyze those contracts if we have them all in one folder,” Bruchhaus said.
The report also said the School Board has no procedures “in place for inspection of work performed by an outside vendor.” A report of work orders in the maintenance department listed more than “350 vendors who were paid a total of over $6 million,” something Bruchhaus attributed to contracting more work out to vendors.
“Over the last few years, our maintenance staff has gone from 75 down to 45, with some workers retiring or leaving,” he said. “As we have outsourced more stuff, the need has arisen to have a process in place.”
Bruchhaus said the board has obtained permission to receive requests for proposals for electrical, plumbing and general maintenance work in the school system. The workers will have to submit credentials, hourly rates and a markup on parts in the proposal.
Bruchhaus said the audit firm will check by June 30, the end of the fiscal year, to see if the School Board has corrected issues listed in the report.