Friday, May 24, 2024

Audit finds Louisiana state agencies failed to submit required performance reports

by BIZ Magazine

By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor

Numerous Louisiana agencies failed to submit quarterly performance information required by law in 2022 and many blamed staffing issues as the reason, according to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.

Auditor Mike Waguespack issued a Performance Indicator Summary Report last week that highlights agencies that failed to log required quarterly information into the state’s Louisiana Performance Accountability System over the last two years.

“Overall, 11 (6.9%) of 159 agencies within 29 departments did not submit complete quarterly performance indictor information during the fiscal year 2021 and 14 (8.9%) of 158 agencies within 29 departments did not submit complete quarterly performance indictor information during fiscal year 2022,” according to the report. “Of these 25 total agencies, six (24%) were deficient in both FY 2021 and FY 2022.”

State agencies that missed all eight quarterly reports across both years include the Executive Office and the Office of Indian Affairs, while the Office of Aircraft Services missed seven out of eight of the reports.

The Executive Office and Office of Indian Affairs, both under the Executive Department, pointed to staffing issues for the deficiencies, with an employee neglecting duties for the former and an extended absence for the latter.

The Office of Aircraft Services also cited an employee leaving amid transition as the reason behind the missing reports.

Other agencies with multiple missing reports in 2021 include two missing quarters each from the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center, the Corrections Administration, the Office of Motor Vehicles, Workforce Support and Training, the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Thrive Academy and the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, as well as four missing quarters from the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts.

Agencies with multiple missing reports in 2022 include two each from the Louisiana Tax Commission and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and three each from the Louisiana Public Defender Board, Louisiana Gaming Control Board, Office of Coastal Restoration, Northwestern State University, Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, Thrive Academy, Office of Risk, Louisiana Property Assistance and Office of Aircraft Services.

The Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium also missed all four quarterly reports in 2022.

All of the agencies with multiple missing reports in both years cited staffing issues as the reason, with the exception of a technical error with Workforce Support and Training in 2021 and a technical issue at the Louisiana Tax Commission in 2022.

Ternisa Hutchinson, state director of planning and budget with the Division of Administration, responded to the LLA report with a letter to Waguespack on Dec. 19 that highlighted the administration’s efforts to help agencies complete the quarterly reports.

“Each quarter before the official reporting period begins, all LaPAS users receive an email that containing (sic) detailed instructions and tips to aid in the completion of the reports. The instruments are tailored to address the specific requirements for each quarter, including data entry for prior year actuals and the necessity of approving the data,” Hutchinson wrote.

“In all email correspondence and web-based guidance, the OPB offers technical assistance in completing the reports and most agency users have taken advantage of those resources,” she wrote. “The OPB invites all agency users to become familiar with the materials that are available and to contact our office for questions or problems.”

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