ALC Highway Department

June 16, 2022


McNair [00:00:14] It looks like we’ve got a quorum. We’re going to get started with the ALC Highway Commission Review and Advisory subcommittee. Mr. co-chair, do you have anything you’d like to say? If– we’ll just get started. B on our agenda is the Department of Inspector General if y’all would like to come up and discuss our letter. Introduce yourself, tell us who you are, and where you’re from when you get ready. 


Smith [00:00:53] Hello. Hi, I’m Elizabeth Smith. I’m the secretary for the Department of Inspector General. 


Quattlebaum [00:01:00] I’m Ricky Quattlebaum and I’m the director of the Office of Internal Audit. 


Garrett [00:01:06] I’m Maggie Garrett. I’m the deputy director of the Office of Internal Audit. 


McNair [00:01:11] Are you all going to do a presentation or are you going to take questions? I’m assuming the members have looked over the letter, but how would you like to do that? 


Smith [00:01:19] Great. Well, whatever is the preference of the chairman and of the committee. We’re here to answer questions. We’re happy to tell a little bit about our–


McNair [00:01:29] Well, you don’t, you don’t have to go through the letter necessarily. But if you want to just give a brief of, of where this came from and why, and then if the members have got questions. 


Smith [00:01:39] Certainly. Can hear me, if you don’t mind. 


McNair [00:01:40] Yeah, you might move it a little closer. 


Smith [00:01:42] Okay. Thank you. Thank you. So in, in compliance with Act 298 of 2019, the Department of Inspector General Office of Internal Audit is required to perform an annual review and efficiency study of ARDOT. So we have worked with ARDOT with Representative Johnson– I mean Representative McNair and Senator Johnson to make sure that we are following the intention of Act 298. One thing that I want to let you all know is performing an annual review and efficiency study of all activities of ARDOT would be a large undertaking to perform a full review every single year of everything that’s going on. So what we’ve done is we’ve taken an approach to make a determination as to which items ought to be reviewed in which order. And we’ve worked closely with the– we’ve utilized the Guidehouse study and we’ve worked with ARDOT to make some determinations as to how we’re going to tackle that. We did receive a couple of positions to perform this, to perform these works. We have detailed information. There’s a good overview in the letter about what our plan is. I’ve got Rickie Quattlebaum and Maggie Garrett here, who can answer specific questions and provide additional information if you would like. 


McNair [00:03:16] Do any members have any questions for the panel on the letter that you all recieved? Seeing no questions– seeing no questions, we’ll just consider this reviewed. Appreciate you. 


Smith [00:03:44] Thank you very much. 


McNair [00:03:49] Item C is our monthly update on an efficiency study. Director Tudor, if you’d like to come up with whoever else wants to come. Introduce yourself for us. 


Tudor [00:04:11] Good morning. I’m Lorie Tudor, the director of the Arkansas Department of Transportation. And you should have a copy of the efficiency study recommendations rules for implementation. It’s our monthly update, dated June 16, 2022. So hopefully you’ve got that in front of you. And at your last meeting we submitted this report and we used green font to illustrate what had changed. But because it’s printed out black and white, we decided to do something different because that was problematic. So changes from the last report will be underlined. And so that’s how we will proceed in the future. We are going to start– we kind of got– we were trying to figure out the, you know, the timing of this report. We know we need to do it monthly. So what we’re going to do is we’re just going to submit this report to the chairs and to BLR every– the first of every month for you to distribute. And then despite whenever we decide to meet, this committee decides to meet, we’ll just submit that monthly at the beginning of the month from this point forward. So you’ll be getting a new report July 1 and then every month after that. And I would like to introduce Kevin Thorton, our assistant chief of administration. Kevin, would you stand? This is Kevin, and he has been designated as the point of contact for this efficiency recommendation rules for implementation. So not only will the Office of Internal Audit and the group that was just up here, that will be their main point of contact, it will also be the point of contact if you all have any specific questions. So he’s going to be managing all the moving parts and making sure that we’re, we’re moving forward with all the implementation of these recommendations. So just concerning what has changed from the last report that we submitted, I’ll just give you a brief overview of what’s changed, and then I’ll just, I’ll open it up to questions. The Highway Commission approved a minute order allowing us to issue a request for proposals to hire a consultant to develop an interactive, informative, user friendly online platform of our construction and maintenance activities across the state. And this will fulfill recommendation number three, which is published status of construction projects and maintenance activities. The estimated cost for this service right now, we’re estimating, is going to be about $1 million. It will allow those that are using this new system to go in and do filters. So, for example, we’ll be sure to have a filter for every legislative district. So you can go in and filter for your district and see all the maintenance activities and construction activities either scheduled or ongoing in your area. So we’re really excited about that because we have a lot of really good information– you have to really– but it’s not in one place. And this is going to help us do that in an online platform that’s easy to use. I think it’s going to make a huge difference in being able to get your questions answered quickly. We have replaced our manual system with an electronic online bidding system for about 75% of our equipment and supply purchases. This is part of the implementation for recommendation number five, implement efficiencies in procurement and purchasing. So we’ve made some real progress in that regard. And finally, we have implemented a career path promotion program for employees to ensure staff can develop in their careers at ARDOT. To date, 106 career path promotions have been awarded to ARDOT employees. Really proud of that. And this is part of the implementation for recommendation number 12 and 13 to ensure staff can develop in their careers at the department and we can improve staff capabilities. So those are just the big highlights. The other things are more minor in your report. But I’ll just open it up now to any questions you might have. 


McNair [00:08:47] Any questions from committee members. I guess everybody is satisfied. 


Tudor [00:08:57] Okay. 


McNair [00:08:57] With Kevin being our point of contact, and I know, I know we can find it, but could we get his information to Brandon and he can send it to the committee members?


Tudor [00:09:09] Absolutely.  


McNair [00:09:11] There no question from anyone? Representative Wardlaw. 


Wardlaw [00:09:23] Thank you, Mr. Chair. So in the budgeting process, we’re doing quarterly budgets, is that correct? And is there another one due in July for council? 


Tudor [00:09:34] I believe there is. For appropriations? For expenditures? 


Wardlaw [00:09:38] Yes, ma’am. 


Tudor [00:09:38] Yes, sir. That’s correct.


Wardlaw [00:09:39] Okay. Thank you. 


McNair [00:09:42] Any other question? If nothing else, we’ll consider this reviewed. Thank you. 


Tudor [00:09:48] Thank you very much. 


McNair [00:09:52] That’s only, our only two agenda items. Is there anything, committee members, anybody’s got to come before us today? If nothing else, we’re adjourned.