Joint Budget Peer Review subcommittee

Feb. 23, 2022


Hodges Good morning, everyone. We’re going to go ahead and get started. We, we got quite a bit on the agenda this morning and we’re crunched for time. We have JBC this morning, so if we don’t get completed with the agenda, we’ll have the recess and come back. So let’s go ahead and get started. Appreciate everyone for being here. It looks like we have a quorum. Do you have any comments or anything you’d like to make? OK. If not, we’ll go ahead and get things going. 


Parrish Thank you, Mr. Chair. The first section are various temporary appropriation requests. This is Section B. These are request by agencies to increase their spending authority above what it’s authorized in their appropriation bill. First item, B 1 is the Department of Agriculture. This is a request to increase appropriation by 500,000. The new spending authority would allow the department to pay out professional fees on a project that is completing sooner than anticipated. The next item, B 2, is a letter from the Department of Transportation. This is a request to increase appropriation by 3 million. The new spending authority would allow the department to distribute funds collected from the natural gas severance taxes to those counties impacted by extraction in the Fayetteville Shale area. According to the letter, production has increased, leading to revenue that has surpassed their spending authority. Mr. Chair, those are all the various temporary appropriation requests. These are approval items to take a vote. 


Hodges OK, are there any questions? If not, I need a motion. Second? All in favor say aye. Any opposed like sign. OK, these items stand approved. 


Parrish Thank you, Mr. Chair. The next section, Section C, are ARP requests. According to the cover letter by the CFO, there are 11 requests by agencies to spend awards made directly to them from a federal office. There are no requests on the agenda from the ARP Steering Committee. Requests require prior approval by ALC, and the first one is on Page 3. This is C 1. It’s for DHS Division of County Operations. This is a request to spend 3.6 million. The funds will be used to replace the Washington County Office, replace desk and chairs throughout the state, and upgrade their IT infrastructure. The next item is on Page 6. On Page 6, it’s C 2. This item has been pulled by agency request. We’ll skip forward to Page 9. So on page 9, it’s C 3. This is South Arkansas Community College. This request is for 998,000, and they would use these funds to recover lost revenues and purchase desktop and classroom computer stations. The next item is on Page 12. On Page 12 is C 4. This is ASU Newport. It’s for 2.1 million and they will use these funds to reimburse for technology purchases, indirect costs and lost revenues. Next item is on Page 14. Page 14, it’s C 5. This is UALR for 3.6 million, and they would use these funds to provide direct grants to students for emergency relief. Next item is on Page 17. On Page 17 is C 6. This is for UAMS. This request is for 1.4 million, and these funds will be used to make emergency grants to students and pay past due student balances. The next item is on Page 20. On Page 20 is C 7. It’s also UAMS. This request is for 570,000, and they use these funds for self-testing in Hispanic communities. The next item is on page 23. This is another UAMS request. This is for 866,000, and they will use these funds to support the UAMS Head Start program. The next item is on Page 26. Page 26 is C 9. This is Arkansas Tech University. This is a request to reallocate previously awarded appropriation. The original spending authority was for HVAC projects on three buildings. According to their letter that projects have come in under budget and they are requesting to use the savings on other or additional HVAC projects identified on their campus. The next item is on Page 28. This is C 10, Page 28. This is University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Texarkana. This is another request to reallocate a previously awarded appropriation. They want to use the same spending authority and for the same purpose. However, the college wants to increase the maximum student emergency grant award for the spring semester, and that’s because we’ve had a decline in enrollment. So students will get more of this maximum award. The next item is C 11. This is on Page 30. This is for the Department of Commerce Arkansas Development Finance Authority. This is a request to spend 56.9 million. The funds will be used to assist homeowners experiencing financial hardships through the Arkansas Homeowner Assistance Fund program. Mr. Chair, those are all the ARP requests. 


Hodges Thank you. Are there any questions? If not, I need a motion to approve. A motion and a second. All in favor say aye. Any opposed? These items stand approved. 


Parrish Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We’re on section D  now. This is the Shared Services request. Special language allows cabinet level departments to transfer appropriation and positions to a Shared Services section to enjoy efficiencies department wide. The Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism requests transfer and the appropriation associated with 11 positions from the Parks and Tourism divisions to their Shared Services section. I spoke with the department and learned the positions, like production artists, media specialists and travel writers will set up a public relations function in their Shared Services to serve all divisions of the department. The table on Page 3 of Section D shows a transfer of the 231,000 appropriation to the Shared Services section. 


Hodges Any questions? I have a question. Who’s 60? OK. Senator. You’re recognized.


Hammer Maybe for staff– thank you, Mr. Chair. The transfer of positions, did it result in an increase in pay salaries or did they transfer over at the same pay salary they had before? 


Parrish I don’t have any knowledge of any increases, but I’d have to defer to the department to answer that fully. 


Hammer And would you– which, which one of these are we in again? Is it E or which one is it? 


Parrish We’re in Section D, Shared Services. 


Hammer Thank you. 


Hodges Please recognize yourself for the record. 


Dunlap Good morning. I’m Cynthia Dunlap is Chief Fiscal Officer for the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. 


Fisken Good morning. I’m Leslie Fisken, chief of legislative affairs for Parks Heritage and Tourism. 


Hodges You’re recognized. 


Hammer Good morning. My question– over here to your far left. Thank you. Did this result in any increase in salaries by moving from one division over to Shared Services? 


Dunlap No, sir. There were no increases in salaries. We’re just moving the positions over at their current rate of pay. No increase in salaries and no change in our appropriation, just readjusting where we were spending it. 


Hammer And how many additional agencies will they be able to serve by moving over to the Shared Services division? Or are they going to be exclusive to the one where they came from? Or would they be opened up and available to others? 


Dunlap The current plan is that they will be open up and available across the agency. We have a new chief of communications director and he is currently working on a model that will allow all the positions to share and work across all of our divisions. 


Hammer OK, and will those be charged back to the agency that they’re, that they’re going to be providing services to? 


Dunlap Yes, as part of our cost allocation model, we will, we will charge those charges back to reflect the agencies that they did the work for. Yes, sir. 


Hammer And then the last thing is this, the right that they’re going to be charged back to the agencies, refresh my memory how that is established. If you’re going to be charging– you’re moving them to Shared Services. Now you’re going to be charging them back to the agency that they’re providing the services for. What, what’s the mathematics, or what’s the rate that you’re going to be charging back to the agency that will save that agency money that you’re, you’re pulling them from? 


Dunlap Well, currently we’re working on our allocation models and we will build a model that will reflect how the work is done for each one of the sections. And we’ll pull data from our systems. And based on the the work that is done, we’ll create a calculation of the percentage, and then we will look at each one of the sections and determine how much was spent, how much work was done for each one of the groups and what what their cost is. And then that cost will be allocated based on the actual cost for the Shared Services section. 


Hammer Alright. But that model is not built as of right now? 


Dunlap For this particular group, it’s not built right now because they’re still working on how they’re going to work, how they’re going to, to– how they’re going to be operating. And so once we know how they’re going to operate, what is their method of operation, then we will use that, that method to develop a model to say, What is it that you’re doing for each group? And when we capture the work that you’re doing for each group, we’ll be able to tell how much you did for this section versus another section. And we’ll capture the actual cost of the communication section and allocate that based on the percentage that they did for other groups. 


Hammer OK, thank you. I’d like to see that model if you’ll send it to me, please. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 


Hodges Thank you. Any other questions? Thank you. Thank you. If there are no, no other questions, these items stand approved. 


Parrish Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We’re in Section E now. These are the cash increase requests. We’re now in review items. Cash fund requests are requests by agencies to increase spending authority for line items that are supported by a cash fund account. The first item E1, excuse me, is a letter from the Department of Corrections Division of Corrections. This is a request to increase appropriation by 37,000. And this spending authority is needed to replace a fire truck. The next item is a letter from the Department of Health. This is E 2. This is for the Dietetics Licensing Board. It’s a request to increase appropriation by 11,000. The new spending authority will allow the board to pay for board member travel expenses, moving expenses to relocate their office, a new computer and to implement an online licensure system. The next item E 3, this is on Page 4. This is for National Park College. It’s a request to increase appropriation by 2.25 million. The letter notes the new spending authority is needed for additional auxiliary services and because appropriation was drawn down due to incorrect classification of federal relief expenses in the state accounting system. Mr. Chair, those are all the cash requests. 


Hodges Any questions? If not, these items stand approved– reviewed, I’m sorry. Thank you. These items stand reviewed. 


Parrish Thank you, Mr. Chair. We’re in Section F now. These are budget classification transfers. These are requests by agencies to make it transfer among the five sub items of maintenance and general operation. There’s only one item on the agenda. This is for the Department of Commerce Arkansas Development Finance Authority. It’s a request to transfer 40,000 from professional fees to operating expenses. According to the request, the transfer as needed due to an increase in costs in fiscal year 22. And this is a review item. 


Hodges Ok. Any questions? If not, these items stand reviewed. 


Parrish All right, thank you, Mr. Chairman. The next section is Section G. These are miscellaneous federal grant requests. And these are requests by agencies to increase spending authority on federal funds resulting from an unanticipated federal grant award. G 1 is for the Department of Agriculture. It’s a request for 33,000. They have a grant from USDA to enhance competitiveness of specialty crops. This item is 100 percent federally funded. Next item number 2, this is Department of Commerce Arkansas Development Finance Authority. It’s a request for 4.1 million in appropriation. They have a grant from HUD to construct rental housing for extremely low income Arkansans. This is also 100 percent federally funded. The next item, number 3, is DHS Division of County Operations. It’s a request for 1.3 million. They have a grant from USDA to increase the likelihood persons on SNAP make healthy food choices. It’s 100 percent federally funded. G4 is again DHS Division of County operations. It’s a request for 271,000. They have a grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement to help the 60 Afghanistan refugees Arkansas will receive to integrate into the state. This item is 100 federally funded. Next item number– actually, the next two requests, G5 and G6, are for DHS Division of County Operations. Request G5 is for 13,000 and G6 is for 26,000. Both are grants from the USDA to do outreach in areas identified as low SNAP participation. The items require a 50 percent match. The next item– we’re skipping, skipping to Page 8, which is Item 7. And the next three requests are for DHS SNAP employment and training. So G 7 is for 1.1 million. G 8 is for 741,000. And G9 is for 1 million. All are grants from the USDA to provide employment and training services and to promote self-sufficiency. The last two are matched with third party provider funds and with state general revenue. So now we’re going to skip ahead to number 10. This is G 10, Department of Public Safety Arkansas State Crime Lab. It’s a request for 245,000. They have a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to renovate their forensic chemistry section and provide professional development opportunities. It’s 100 percent federally funded. The next item, G11, is again Arkansas State Crime Lab. It’s a request for 28,000. They have another grant from the DOJ to process more DNA samples and remove backlogs. It’s also 100 percent federally funded. Number 12 is a third one for Arkansas State Crime Lab. It’s a  request for 9,600. They have a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to send toxicologists for training to improve reporting on crash samples. This item is 100 percent federally funded. G13 is Arkansas State Police. It’s a request for 35,000. This is another grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This one’s for law enforcement training. It’s 100 percent federally funded. Next item, G14, is the Department of Commerce Arkansas Economic Development Commission. This request for 8.9 million. They have a grant from HUD to assist in recovery and do mitigation from disasters occurred in 2017 through 2019, primarily by addressing unmet housing needs. This item is 100 percent federally funded. Mr. Chair, those are all the MFGs, and this is a review– these are review items. 


Hodges OK, thank you. Are there any questions? Okay. If not, these items stand reviewed. 


Parrish Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We’re in Section H now. These are pay plan requests. There are two requests for pay plan appropriation totaling 14,800. The securities department requests 11,000 extra help in education television requests, 3,800 in extra help to cover increased use of part time field engineers. These are review items. 


Hodges Any questions? If not, these items stand reviewed.


Parrish Thank you, Mr. Chair. We’re in  Section I now. This is, this is a request for a method of finance. A method of finance request over 250,000 from an agency to build– I’m sorry to buy land or build buildings, and the project has not already been reviewed by the Legislature. The first one, the only one, is ASU Mid-South. It’s FedEx Aviation. This is a maintenance expansion project to increase accessibility and accommodate growth in the program enrollment. The cost will be a little over a million, and the project is funded from millage in federal grant funds. 


Hodges Any questions? These items stand reviewed. 


Parrish Next section, Section J, begins discretionary grants. These are grants over 10,000 to recipients not specified in legislation, and they require prior review before awarding a contract. The Arkansas Department of Health has four grant awards on the agenda. The first one is Westbrook Communication. It’s $244,000. It’s an original grant. This is to develop culturally and linguistically responsive COVID 19 prevention communication to identify and address current gaps in factors related to health disparities. It’s 100 percent federally funded. The next item is number 2, Sound Start, Arkansas Hands of Voices. It’s an amendment that adds 61,000. This is to continue to further the infant hearing program in securing appropriate follow up services for children. Next item number 3 is for ARCare. It’s an amendment that adds 2.4 million. And this one is to continue to provide core medical and support services for HIV infected individuals for the Ryan White Part B Services Access Center program. The last item number 4 is for Future Builders. It’s a 50,000 original grant. And this is to continue the It’s Your Choice program. The focus is on making existing prevention and treatment methods more far reaching by expanding services to rural communities. And this is also 100 percent federally funded. And those– that’s the end of the discretionary grants. 


Hodges We have a question. Rep. Fortner. You’re recognized.


Fortner Thank you. I’d like– could I go back to G4? I’m a little slow. 


Hodges G4, OK. Please recognize yourself for the record.


White Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mark White, Department of Human Services. 


Franklin Good morning. Mary Franklin, Director of Division of County Operations. 


Hodges Ok. You’re recognized. What was your question? 


Fortner I’m over here. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you. This money that we’re giving. It says cash. What is that for? Or is it literally we’re going to hand them cash? Cash? 


White We do provide– it’s a federal program that provides cash assistance to individuals who are relocated Arkansas through the federal refugee programs. It’s a cash benefit of, I believe, about $80 a month, which they can receive for up to six months. 


Franklin Eight months from the day they enter the country. 


Fortner Did you say $8?


White $80. 


Fortner Oh, 80. OK. All right. Thank you. 


Hodges Thank you. Thank you. Any other questions? Sixty. OK. Senator Hammer, you’re recognized. 


Hammer Thank you. You said they’re relocated. Could you tell me where they relocated from, please? 


White I’m sorry. Individuals through the refugee program could be from any number of countries. There, there’s kind of two sides of this. There’s the one that we work more directly with the feds in which there are individuals from a variety of countries who apply to come here as refugees and then are resettled. And they can be resettled throughout the state. There are a couple of private organizations that actually work with those individuals to help place them. And it is between that private organization and their work for the federal government on where those individuals are placed. 


Hammer Are, are they coming from– are they coming from the southern border? Do you know? 


White Not that I know of. I mean, it’s, it’s possible they may have come from Central or South America. I think most of the ones I’ve seen recently have tended to be from– let’s see here– we’ve got, there’s some from Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Guatemala, Rwanda, one from Iran, some from Syria. So it’s just kind of all around. 


Hammer OK, and it’s all federal money, right?


White Yes, sir. 


Hammer Could I get– do you know how many there are in the, in the state, please? And you said $80 a month, right? 


White In 2021, we had a total of 228 individuals, and that’s higher than normal. And I’m sorry, I didn’t finish my thought earlier. The federal government has been placing some refugees from Afghanistan directly, which doesn’t– although they’ve they’ve kept us in the loop, that’s not something that’s within our control. But that accounts for the higher number in 2021. And so far this year, we’ve had 54 individuals placed. 


Hammer OK. But the total is 221 you said a minute ago? Or– 


White228 last year. 228. 


Hammer All right. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair.


Hodges Thank you. Any other questions? If not these items stand reviewed. 


White Thank you. 


Hodges I’m sorry. Sen. Ingram.


Ingram This is on another matter. I just– Mark, where are we on the utility and rent assistance, when we required the check to be sent to the– you know, made out dual. 


White Sure. So right now, applications are on hold. However, we still have the applications that have already been submitted that we’re continuing to work through. As of yesterday, I think the total paid was about $81 million– $81.6 million that we paid out to individuals. We are sending out the rent checks now payable to both tenant and landlord. 


Ingram OK, so, so it’s flowing? The money is flowing. OK, that was my question. Thank you. 


Hodges OK, I have another question from Senator Hammer. You’re recognized. 


Hammer Thank you, Mr. Chair. Following up on that, there were landlords who were not paid because the money went to the tenant and the tenant got the money but spent it somewhere else. And I think that has come out in the last month in several meetings. Those landlords that did not get that money did everything they were supposed to, but because of system failures, that money went to the tenant. Are those landlords first in line to receive the money or how are you addressing that situation? 


White We’re continuing to work through that. We’ve identified– it’s either either two or three situations in which that– at least the landlord– it appears to have happened. And we’re working with the vendor to get the timeline, see what happened when, what, what steps the landlord took, what steps the tenant took. And we’ve been talking with the Treasury Department about how much flexibility we have there. That’s still a fluid situation. We’re still working through that. 


Hammer OK, well, I just want to voice my opinion that for those landlords who did what they were supposed to do, but because of system structure, those payments went out to those tenants– and I think the tune was like $27 million that you all had identified that fit that category– am I right or wrong on that? I see her shaking her head no behind you. 


Franklin Not, not 27 million. A smaller amount than that where landlords have raised their hand and said the tenant did not pay us. 


Hammer OK. I just want– here’s my, here’s my want. My want is that those landlords get taken care of that did everything right, but the tenant took the money and did everything wrong. I want to make sure those landlords get taken care of before all that money gets exhausted and goes out the door because they got leapfrogged over. And that’s that’s not fair to them. And then you go after the tenants that fraudulently took the money and do with it whatever you can do. That would be my request. If you, would you agree? Thank you. 


White I certainly understand that, and we’re looking to see just how much flexibility we’ve got there to make things right. 


Hammer Well, if we do something to help you have greater flexibility, let us know because we’d like to see that done. Thank you. 


Hodges OK, if there’s no more questions, these items stand reviewed. Thank you. 


Parrish All right, thank you, Mr. Chair. We’re in Section K now. These are service contracts. So the first page is a letter from the OSP Director Mitch Rouse noting that the contracts that meet criteria for legislative review are provided and they all appear on their face not to have been procured in violation of the law. There is one contract on Page 7, it’s contract number 9 on the page for DHS, that had two bidders protest, but neither of these protests were sustained. Those protest arguments had been provided to staff prior to the meeting. I’ll point point that out when I get to the item. The next page is K 1. These are construction related contracts for architects, engineering and commissioning services. Number 1 is the DHS original contract for design services for the Human Development Centers medical facilities. This is for 1.3 million. Number 2 is UA Fayetteville original contract for architectural services for the Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center in Harrisburg. That’s for 780,500. Number 3 is UA Fort Smith. It’s an amendment for completion of the Willhoff House restoration project that adds 39,614 to the project. And, Mr. Chair, those are the end of the construction related contracts. 


Hodges We have a question. Senator Hammer, you’re recognized. 


Hammer Thank you, Mr. Chair. What number did you say was protested by two vendors? Number 9? 


Parrish It’s on Page 7. Number 9 is in a different section. When we get to the item, I’ll point it out. 


Hammer And did you say that the, that, that they had appealed it and had exhausted it to the full capability and– 


Parrish Correct. The protests were not sustained. 


Hammer OK. All right, thank you. 


Hodges OK, without objection, these items stand reviewed. 


Parrish Thank you, Mr. Chair. We’re on K 2 now. They are intergovernmental contracts, which are contracts between state agencies. There’s only one item on the agenda. It’s Community Correction original contract for validation of the Arkansas offender risk assessment for 75,500. This is a review item. 


Hodges Are there any questions? OK. OK. Sen. Elliott, you’re recognized. 


Elliott I guess I need to talk to– I need somebody from the Department of Correction, community correction. 


Hodges Do we have anyone from the Department of Community Correction? Please recognize yourself for the record, please. 


Wimbly Lamont Wimbly, chief financial officer 


Johnson Laura Johnson, Interim Procurement Administrator. 


Hodges You’re recognized. 


Elliott Thank you, Mr. Chair. I just wanted to get a quick correction what we mean by what they’re actually doing with the validation, if you know. What’s involved in that process?


Wimbly Well, the information I have, it’s actually a study. They’re going to do a study on five areas. It’s risk assessment, intake, reassessment, prerelease and prison release. 


Elliott So we are, if we are doing an assessment of the five aurora tools, should I interpret that to mean that we’re going to look– that we’re hiring somebody to look at these tools to see if they are still relevant and valid and actually of good use to us? 


Wimbly Yes, ma’am.


Elliott And if you don’t know the answer to this question, if you would get somebody to give me the answer. 


Wimbly OK. 


Elliott To what extent are we looking at these tools in a way that we know they’re culturally relevant and that they are age appropriate and that kind of thing? I’d just like to talk to somebody about that, and it doesn’t have to be here. 


Wimbly OK. 


Elliott If you could just have somebody get in contact with me, that would be sufficient. 


Wimbly OK. We’ll get that information for you. 


Elliott OK, thank you. All right. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 


Hodges Are there any other questions? OK, thank you. If not, these– with any objection, these items stand reviewed. 


Parrish Thank you, Mr. Chair. We’re on K 3 now. These are out of state contracts. Number 1 is Heritage. It has an original contract for refurbishment of the 9th Gallery at Historic Arkansas Museum. It’s to design and install displays for $98,500. Number 2 is ASU Newport. It has an original contract for website redesign project for 113,000. Number 3 is Transformation Shared Services. They have an original contract for surplus management implementation solution for marketing or redistribution. This is for 452,000. Number 4 is DFA Child Support Enforcement. They have a contract amendment for paternity test for custodial and non-custodial parents for 359,000.  Moving to the next page. Number 5. DFA Management has an amendment for evaluation of opioid and substance abuse site based services. This is 123,000. Number 6 is disability determination. They have an original contract for a medical consultant to review and evaluate claims for 291,000. Number 7 is education. They have an original contract for maintenance and support of the Educator Licensure System. This is for 264,000. The next page is Number 8. Number 8 has been pulled by agency request from the health department. So we’re going to skip over that to number 9. DHS has an original contract with RedMane Technology for development, implementation and maintenance of the new comprehensive child welfare system for over 10.8. This is a contract that was referenced in a letter from the OSB director Mitch Rouse. Two bidders protested, but neither of the protests were sustained. Number 10, DHS has an amendment for 352,000 for in-home services for children and family services clients. The next page is number 11. This is– Number 11 is DHS and has the amendment for 1.65 million for nursing staff at all five human development centers. Number 12 is state police. They have an original contract for 54,000 for installation of equipment in patrol Dodge Chargers to be used for public safety operations. Numbers 13, 14 and 15, are all UARL original contracts for temporary staffing services and are 200,000 each. We’re going to skip to Page 6. On Page 6 is number 16. This is for UAPB. They have an original contract for Education Network of America for a web conferencing solution, for a web conferencing solution for 294,000. And Mr. Chair, these are all the– this is the end of the out of state contracts. 


Hodges Any questions? Okay. We have a question. Guess how? Senator Hammer. 


Hammer Thank you. Could we get Human Services for number 11 to the table, please? 


Hodges Recognize yourself, sir.


White Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mark White, Department of Human Services. 


Hodges You’re recognized. 


Hammer Thank you. How are you going to– what’s the strategy to get the certified nursing assistants given the competitive market that’s out there? And how are you going to use this money to actually get the job done hiring them? 


White Well, we are certainly we’re continuing to try and hire as many CNAs as we can. You know, we’ve been able to offer some pay increases and other incentives to help get folks in the door. But at the same time, we also have to use outside contract agencies to fill in gaps where needed. And so this is with– we have several providers we’re working with to get those contract, get that contract labor in. And this is one of the vendors that’s been more successful than others in getting us more folks. And because we’ve used up more of their capacity so far, that’s why we’re trying to add some additional capacity to this contract now. And Mrs. Weatheron is here. I’ll let her– I’ll defer to her on anything I misstated there. 


Weatherton You did good. 


Hammer The– I noticed you got a out of state company doing this. Did you solicit or were there any in-state companies that bid on this contract to get the services provided? 


White We have obtained these a number of ways, including through existing state contracts. Bottom line, we’ve opened the door. We’re looking for everyone we can find to help provide contract laborers. We’ve got in-state companies doing that. We’ve got out-of-state companies doing it. 


Hammer And the folks are going to be hired for this, are they going to be hired then on a traveling certified nursing assistant arrangement or are they going to be permanent placement employees? 


Weatherton I’m sorry, Melissa Weather, director for developmental disability services. So, Senator, what they’ve been doing is coming in and, for example, like, if they come to Arkadelphia, they send down CNAs that stay down there for five days at a time. So they could be from, from out of the state. But they’re coming in for blocks of time at the centers when we need help. And like Mark said, we have a lot of these contracts in place, but we’re not paying on them. We only pay when they produce staff. And this particular company has been our most successful at certain centers, I guess based on the areas of the state. And so I know in particularly Arkadelphia, we’re highly using this contract. 


Hammer Okay. So we’re going to face– we’re, we’re going to face a critical situation still down the road if these are contract individuals that are just here for a short period of time. Somewhere down the road, we’re still going to have to fill those those voids. 


Weatherton So I think that we are getting much better on hiring full time employees at the state for our centers based on some of the things we’ve been doing over the last couple of years on setting up the CNAs, changing the pay scale, adding the ability to work overtime and be paid for it for multiple positions beyond CNAs. And so we’re seeing it decline, but we still have a great need and I would say especially for LPNs and registered nursing. We’re still, we’re still struggling to hire those, those clinicians full time. 


Hammer All right. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 


Hodges Thank you. Rep. Fortner, you’re recognized. 


Fortner Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Number 3, the Department of Transformation and Shared Services. 


Hodges Please recognize yourself for the record, please. 


Fetcher Amy Fetcher, Secretary, Transformation and Shared Services. 


Shipp Patti Shipp Chief Fiscal Officer, Transformation and Shared Services. 


Hodges You’re recognized.


Fortner I’m over here. Could you help me understand this? It says for surplus management implementation solutions. Are you getting rid of stuff or are they showing you how to use your extra? 


Shipp This software would be a software that would run the business of M & R. They currently use ASIS. ASIS is not set up to do more of a retail business, which really is what M & R is. You know, they take in surplus goods from this state, things that an agency no longer needs, and then they redistribute those out, either to state agencies, to the public– today’s Wednesday, and they’ll be having the public in there today– also to– nonprofits are also able to come in and do that. So they have to do invoices just like you would do in any business. They have accounts receivable just as you would have in any business, and it’s very difficult for them to utilize ASIS only. Several years ago before transformation, there was an in-depth review of the processes at M & R and several deficiencies were highlighted. And this software is a way to help resolve many of those issues so they have good ways to account for their business processes. 


Fortner Well, I guess it just seems like half a million dollars to tell someone how to get rid of good stuff. I’d do it for that, and I live here. I can tell you how to get rid of that stuff. 


Shipp That, that is over four years. I think the total amount there is over five years. There’s an optional fifth year. So the first year cost is around 250,000. That’s to implement. It is, of course, a cloud solution. So as most softwares are now, it’s not on, you know, on residence, it’s in the cloud. You don’t buy the software, you’re leasing it, as most things are. And so there’s a yearly cost to keep that up there. We investigated many surplus things. There’s only about three out there. This one was the most reputable and is used by most, several other states. And I don’t have that list of states, but I do know that Kansas and Alaska are two of them that use it. It’s just really a question of being able to successfully and transparently show the business processes there. It’s very difficult. We can’t do an age analysis report out of ASIS because M & R is looped in with several other business areas. And so ASIS wants to give you all of those business areas instead of just one segment of those. It’s, it’s just a question of making it a better business process for the state. 


Fortner Follow up. 


Hodges Yes. You’re recognized. 


Fortner So this isn’t to generate more funds. It is for transparency. 


Shipp It’s because there was a in-depth audit that highlighted business processes that were not being done effectively, and the only way to effectively do that is through computerization process. And this software we found to be the most comprehensive and the one that would answer those questions the best. And it will provide transparency as well. 


Fortner OK, thank you. 


Shipp You’re welcome.


Hodges Thank you, Rep. Fortner. Sen. Hammer, you’re recognized. 


Hammer Thank you. Over here to your far left. What was, what was it that was limiting about ASIS that you couldn’t go in and make the adjustments and do it within the ASIS system and had to go outside of it in order to, you know, get this contract to do it? 


Shipp I don’t have the– I asked for someone to send me the audit report. That happened several years ago, of course, before I was around. But there were just so many things that we could not see within ASIS in their business processes. You can’t generate an aged analysis report. There have been some challenges around collections, even though we mostly do business with state agencies. You can imagine that those invoices sometimes go to the wrong person. They don’t get paid. And so then you’re trying to, to collect, if you will. They have difficulties with that. The processes of going in and changing prices, if that needs to be done, there needs to be strict oversight on that. So we can be certain that someone is not doing that for profit. And this system is more of a– I hate to use the word retail because it’s not a retail business, but it functions along those lines in many ways. So this gives you those safeguards and a way to track all of those things. 


Hammer OK. Amy, let me ask, in dealing with all the agencies that are getting swept up into transformation, have you found similar problems in other agencies that utilized ASIS that you’re having to make modifications to because the ASIS program can adapt to whatever those needs are, either driven by audit report or just driven out of restructuring? 


Fetcher Senator Hammer, I really can’t answer that because I don’t, I don’t deal with all of the other 14 departments on their interactions with ASIS. We could, we could ask for that information for you from them. Ours specifically is just looking at M & R and the way they are doing business. Part of the audit findings was the separation of duties. They didn’t have the staff there that they could separate that, and this helps, helps fill that need as well as the others that Patty was talking about. 


Hammer Okay. If wouldn’t mind, the others that you referenced looking at, I’d be curious to follow up with that and see if they’re, at least under your wheelhouse, if there are other agencies that are having to go outside of ASIS in order to get the need met in order to comply with the audit reports. I remember that audit report. So if you’ve got others, I’d be curious if you would let me know, please. Thank you. 


Hodges Without any other questions, these items stand reviewed. 


Parrish Thank you, Mr. Chair. We’re in K 4 now. K 4, in-state contracts. Number 1 and 2 are ASU Jonesboro, and they have a special recruitment for staffing services for set up of arena and for custodial services. Numbers 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are DHS amendments for Community Health Services contracts. We’re going to skip ahead to Page 5. On Page 5 numbers 8 and 9 are DHS amendments for Substance Abuse Treatment Services, or DCFS. Number 10 has an amendment for mail processing services. Next page. This is page 6 now. We’re on number 11. DHS has a contract amendment for beneficiary relations. Next page is Page 7. We’re on number 12. U of A Fayetteville has an amendment for pest control services. Next page is Page 8. Number 13 UARL has an original contract for temporary staffing services. And Mr. Chair, those are all the end– that’s the end of the in-state contracts. 


Hodges Any questions? No questions. These items stand reviewed. 


Parrish I think, Mr. Chair, now into the report section of the agenda. Reports are filed for information purposes. If any members have a question, I’ll try to get them an answer on these reports. 


Hodges Any questions? OK. Thank you, William, for those that didn’t recognize, we have William Parrish up here now, not, not Kathy. She’s still around, but we’re glad to have him with us. I think this is his first, his first Peer Review subcommittee meeting with us. So thank you for helping us out. If there’s not any more business, this meeting is adjourned.