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Ohio EPA Performance Audit Released
Columbus – More than $3.7 million in potential savings were outlined in a performance audit of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“Ohio EPA is capitalizing on their turn under the microscope,” Auditor Yost said. “I commend Director Butler’s active involvement in the process and willingness to make changes that can ultimately give taxpayers more efficient services at a lower cost.”
“I appreciate Auditor Yost and his staff’s efforts to focus on areas that the Ohio EPA identified as needing a thorough performance audit review,” said Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler. “His staff’s in-depth analysis has yielded statistical data that I can use to guide decisions on changes I am seeking to make within the Agency that will improve our performance and enhance our ability to protect Ohioans and the environment.”
The Ohio Performance Team consulted with OEPA and identified five areas to review: fleet management, laboratory operations, certified professionals, solid waste operator certification and solid waste fee operations.
The performance audit recommended OEPA make improvements to its solid waste disposal fee and tonnage reporting system. By implementing a risk-based monitoring system program for its facilities, OEPA could reduce its risk exposure by $1,880,891 annually. Adjusting for the external auditor position necessary to administer the program, OEPA could save a net $1,812,324 annually.
OEPA’s inorganic and organic laboratories experience significant portions of the year where labor supply exceeds the actual customer service demand. Auditors determined that OEPA could replace underutilized full-time employees with more fully utilized intermittent employees to reduce personnel expenses by $309,372 annually. In addition, OEPA could utilize any excess staffing to conduct more fee-for-service work and generate an additional $910,559 annually.
In the area of fleet management, auditors recommended OEPA optimize the collection of pool fleet utilization data. With the use of this data, the agency could reduce the size of its pool fleet to match demand, which would save $119,306 in the first year and $54,706 in subsequent years. Reducing employee travel expenses through the use of video conferencing and increasing the efficiency of the Emergency Response Unit vehicles can save OEPA more than $350,000.
The performance audit also suggests OEPA implement solid waste and construction and demolition debris operator certification programs in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code. In doing so, OEPA also should adopt a collaborative industry oversight model, which could ensure that resources are allocated towards mission-critical functions. The program model could save the agency $212,314 on initial program startup costs and $150,460 annually.
Legislation championed by Auditor Yost in 2011 requires performance audits be conducted of at least four state agencies each biennium. Other state agencies chosen to undergo performance audits this biennium include the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, and the Ohio Department of Transportation.
A full copy of this performance audit may be accessed online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,800 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.