Legislative Audit, State Agencies

December 1, 2022

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Rep Lundstrum: All right. I see a quorum. Let’s see. Let’s go ahead and pull out the motion. If everybody’s looked over their minutes from the last meeting, do I have a motion and a second to accept the minutes?


Committee members: Motion.


Rep Lundstrum: Motion and a second. A motion from Mary Bentley, Representative Bentley, and Representative Payton. All in favor?


Committee members: Aye.


Rep Lundstrum: All right. Adoption of the minutes. All right, let’s do Mr. Burlington.


Burlington (Audit): Thank you, Madam Chair. Today we’ve got five reports with findings, but we also have seven reports that don’t have findings, and these are listed on page 1 of the audit summary that you have in front of you.


Rep Lundstrum: Let’s have a motion on the ones that don’t have any findings. Senator Hickey. All right, and thank you, Mr. Pitsch, Senator Pitsch. All in favor? All right.


Burlington (Audit): Thank you, Madam Chair. So before we go through the finds that are in your synopsis, at the meeting back in October– and you don’t have this in your packet necessarily, but back in October, you all wanted to hear an update. We had a finding on DHS regarding the community outreach program, and members of the community voted to get a follow-up on that today. What you should have gotten back in October, they sent me a follow-up to that, I emailed that out to the committee. So, should you have gotten that, but they’ve also provided a second update this week, and both of those should be in your packets. It should be two letters that are on DHS letterhead in your packet. And they basically provided us follow-up for all six findings. I think the one that was of interest was finding number 6, which is on the bottom of the second page that you have there. So there are representatives here from DHS if you all have any additional questions about that.


Rep Lundstrum: It’s is a community outreach program. For those of you that are looking, it’s a community outreach program.


Burlington (Audit): So specifically on those DHS handouts, it’s the finding number 6.


Rep Lundstrum: Just to be clear, this is the $450,000 in funds distributed to the Urban League, and there was no findings? There were findings?


Burlington (Audit): This is their follow-up.


Rep Lundstrum: This is their follow-up. Okay. If there are any questions for DHS, we need them to come to the end of the table. Does anybody have any questions? Senator Hickey.


Sen Hickey: So this is at the U.S. Attorney’s office right now, is that correct?


Burlington (Audit): That’s correct.


Sen Hickey: Okay. I don’t know what other action that we could take. All right, thank you.


Rep Lundstrum: What is the will of the body? Do you want to bring it back for follow-up or hear a report on it after?


Sen Hickey: I’ll make a motion we file it.


Rep Lundstrum: You make a motion we file it. Is that what the body wishes? Do we have a second? Second, Senator Pitsch. All in favor? Okay.


Attorney General’s Office

Burlington (Audit): Okay, so the first current report that we have with findings is the Attorney General, June 30, 2021, report. And this report has one finding. 29 employees were paid in excess of the line item salary appropriation by a total of almost $65,000, in conflict with the Arkansas Constitution, which states in part that the General Assembly shall affix the salaries and fees of all officers in the state and no greater salary or fee than that affixed by law shall be paid to any officer, employer, or other person. And, Madam Chair, that concludes the finding with the Attorney General’s office.


Rep Lundstrum: I believe we have members of the Attorney General’s office here. Chief of staff, Mr. Bowen, is here. If you could come to the end of the table?


Bowen (AG): Thank you, Madam Chair. My name is Brian Bowen. I’m the chief of staff for the Arkansas Attorney General’s office.


Rep Lundstrum: Okay. Any questions from the committee?


Sen Hickey: I do. I see that you all have disagreed with Legislative Audit. Do you mind delving into that a little bit?


Bowen (AG): Yes, Mr. Senator. Our assessment of the Audit findings we do disagree with. As I have testified twice before in other committees, it is our position that we have the constitutional authority and the statutory authority to issue bonuses and raises to the employees of the Arkansas Attorney General’s office. Furthermore, we are exempt from the Class and Compensation Act.


Sen Hickey: Okay, so this was over and above what we appropriated, though. Is that correct?


Bowen (AG): No, sir. It’s not my understanding that it’s over and above. We actually had a turnback of about, I believe, $1.6 million in salary savings this year. So we were well within our budget.


Sen Hickey: Okay. I guess with staff– do I not understand this right? Does it not say that these are paid above the appropriated line item?


Burlington (Audit): This is for each individual position line item. We looked at that, and if I remember correct, their appropriation act has dollar amounts in those fields, not a grade, if you will. And that’s what– we’re not talking about the overall appropriation for payroll. We’re talking about each individual position.


Sen Hickey: And what we’re saying for those each individual positions, if one of them was at 100,000, that particular one was paid over the 100,000–.


Burlington (Audit): That’s correct.


Sen Hickey: –which, in y’all’s opinion, that shouldn’t be done that way.


Burlington (Audit): That’s correct. There are some exceptions, Senator Hickey, to those, as you well know, lump sum payments. There are some things that are exceptions. We could not find an exception in this case.


Sen Hickey: Were they actually salaries or were they bonuses?


Burlington (Audit): My understanding for 2021, there were two raises given during that year, and the people that were at the max got a lump sum payment for that instead of their raise. Some people did get a raise if they were not at that line item max.


Sen Hickey: Okay. I remember this. This is the situation we had for the ones that were already at the max. We thought that they shouldn’t receive the maximum that they would have to do that in 1-16 or 1-1-12 or whatever it was based upon the–


Burlington (Audit): Correct. That’s where this came up originally. This is going back a year before that. So we looked at the AG a little bit further because that came up in there. So this is actually the year before the report you’re talking about.


Sen Hickey: Okay, I remember this. I don’t know that I– hard to disagree with the AG’s office, I guess, but I think I’m not for sure. I’ve always thought that the legislature, of course, would have to do the full appropriation on that. I mean, I don’t know. Is this something we want to file or is this something that we need to get some more clarification on because if we’re talking about any constitutional office, I mean, it’s not just going to be limited to them, is that correct?


Burlington (Audit): It very well could not be. We’ve not noticed any that exceeded the line item max.


Sen Hickey: Okay. All right. Thank you.


Rep Lundstrum: Any other questions? Senator Hammer.


Sen Hammer: Thank you, Madam Chair. What was the justification for giving them the bonus? Was it because of performance or retainage, so it’s not to lose them, or what was the justification for classifying them as a bonus?


Bowen (AG): From memory, we had some of both at the time, and I will go back and clarify that and get back to you on individuals who received merit bonuses and also retention bonuses. We had some that fell within a retention bonus at the time, but I don’t recall how many, off the top of my head.


Sen Hammer: Okay, so the intent of giving them the bonuses, based on what you just answered, was either, one, performance, which means, what, they would have been working on certain cases that the AG was successful in winning, other criteria, and then the second one is retention because if you had not given them the bonus, they were going to be hired away out of the office. Can you kind of go a little deeper, but not too deep, on that?


Bowen (AG): Yes, sir. In fact, you actually summarized it very well. We try and reward, not just our attorneys, but also our staff who work very hard to do the business of the state. So we have some that would have fallen in the merit bonuses. During the time frame, which my recollection is this was around February, we were starting to lose some people, and were offering bonuses to try and retain based on the firms that we have to compete with. And it’s not just private firms. It’s also other state agencies.


Sen Hammer: One more, Madam Chair? Okay, thank you. And your argument is, and without me looking it up on the Arkansas Constitution, Article 19, give me the brief– just defend yourself on the basis of your interpretation within that constitutional citing that you feel gives you justification to do what you did without having to come back to us.


Bowen (AG): Our position is that we stayed within our salary budget and have the flexibility because class and compensation does not apply to our office, as well as other constitutional offices and the legislative body.


Sen Hammer: Do you know of any other constitutional office that uses that, or have you– let me back up. Has this been done before within the office of the Attorney General, or are you plowing new ground with this?


Bowen (AG): We have done this repeatedly under the current administration. We’ve done merit raises and bonuses as well throughout the tenure of our administration.


Sen Hammer: What about previous administrations that you know of? Did you cite something that you said a previous administration had done this, or is this, again, just on the current administration?


Bowen (AG): To my knowledge, it is the current administration, but I can have our finance people pull previous administrations as well.


Sen Hammer: All right, thank you. And maybe staff could see if there’s been previous experience of findings on this issue.


Burlington (Audit): This came up kind of, that special report that we issued that Senator Hickey was talking about, this is when this came up. So we started looking at it a little bit further. We went back to 2021. We didn’t go back any further than that. So I can’t say before that if they exceeded the maxes or not before that time.


Sen Hammer: All right. All right. Thank you.


Rep Lundstrum: Senator Dismang.


Sen Dismang: And I guess the question is really for my staff– or for our staff, rather, and then probably Budget to some degree. Are we doing it wrong? Are we writing the appropriations wrong then in some ways? Are we only counting these as recommendations? And then, I mean, because the way that I would understand it, we’ve written appropriations, it’s got a total threshold amount that they can spend to. Their argument is as long as they stay underneath the total appropriation, it doesn’t matter how they move it around, even though it’s delineated inside the appropriation. Am I missing something? All right, so I mean, there needs to be a discussion at some point, I think, with Audit and BLR, and we need to get to an– and, I guess, the AG’s office and every other constitutional officer about where we’re going to go with writing these appropriation bills moving forward. Because right now I don’t understand what we’re doing if we’re putting in, we’re negotiating, we’re having conversations,  we’re saying this is the max, but then it really doesn’t matter what we put in there as long as you stay underneath the entire appropriation allotment. So am I missing something?


Burlington (Audit): No, I think you’re right on track. And Mr. Arey is here if you’d like to get the legal perspective of that.


Sen Dismang: Yes, because this is going to require action. Something’s wrong somewhere.


Arey (Audit): Frank Arey, Legislative Audit. Senator, based on the law, I don’t think you need to change anything. There’s a case out there from the ’50s, Gipson versus Crawfis. The State Board decided to eliminate a couple of positions and create their own position and pay them their own salary without legislative blessing. And the Supreme Court said, no, the number and the salary of state employees is a legislative matter that cannot be delegated to anybody else. And in that particular case, the two employees involved had to repay what they had been paid without legislative authority to receive that money. So I don’t think, based on the law, that you need to do anything different. In the AG’s appropriation, you have a position named, and you have a specific dollar amount. It could not be more clear that they cannot exceed that amount. And there’s a question of, well, does that include bonuses or salaries or whatever? There’s a code section, 19-4-601 that says no state employee can receive any greater compensation. Compensation is a term that includes everything. There’s no point in distinguishing.


Sen Dismang: It’s the vehicle argument that we had with prior constitutional offices.


Arey (Audit): So I think the issue isn’t changing the laws so much as it is holding the agencies accountable.


Sen Dismang: I mean, because my fear is going to be if we set precedent here, we set it for all constitutional offices. I mean, I’m assuming everyone has sufficient appropriation authority to spend, and well above anything they’re ever going to spend. And we can call it, we’re well underneath our budget or whatever, but we’ve given you excess appropriation. Not you, any agency, really, excess appropriation. And if we’re going to use it in such a way that it allows money to move around freely regardless of what’s in the actual appropriation of how it’s supposed to be spent, then I guess we will have to change that practice for all constitutional officers. We will no longer– either the Attorney General is correct, and we need to really focus in on the appropriation levels, or the Attorney General’s incorrect, and we continue on with what we’ve been doing, and you can have a little excess appropriation as needed. That would be my opinion. I mean, if not, we lose control of the process. And, I mean, you could have a constitutional officer run away then at that point with salaries and very little oversight, and I don’t think that would be a good situation for any of us.


Rep Lundstrum: Please answer.


Bowen (AG): Might I add, senator, when OPM and our office first came to testify on this, both OPM and our office said there needs to be clarification in the statute. And both OPM and our office volunteered to address some of the issues that we think need clarification. We’re happy to offer that assistance if you all would like.


Sen Dismang: But can we provide– I mean it’s a constitutional issue, I think, according to the argument back. And so how are we going to provide statute that’s going to provide clarity to the constitution for this?


Bowen (AG): So during our original audit, it was really more of a focus on the statutory authority to do so as opposed to the constitution. And it turned into a constitutional debate, I think, with our office and Audit.


Sen Dismang: Okay, but if we pass a statute that’s out of line with the constitution, then it doesn’t matter if we pass that statute or not. The point is that someone wants to contest it, which is essentially what the Attorney General’s office has done here. I mean, we passed a statute in an appropriation, essentially, that set a limit on what each person could make, a limit. And you all said, “No, it didn’t apply to us. The total amount applies to us. And we can move inside that box however we want to so long as we don’t exceed our appropriation.” Fair enough?


Bowen (AG): Fair enough.


Sen Dismang: Okay. Yeah. And those two things can’t mesh, so, all right. Thank you.


Rep Lundstrum: Senator Pitsch.


Sen Pitsch: Thank you, Madam Chairman. This might be for you, Mr. Arey, or it might actually go to the AG’s office, but you’re opening line to the response: This office as well as other constitutional offices are clearly exempted from this Classification and Compensation Act. Do we know they’re the only ones or do we have a system-wide issue going here?


Burlington (Audit): Senator Pitsch, respectfully, in this particular finding, that’s irrelevant.


Sen Pitsch: I understand. I guess I’m focusing on future legislation, etc. Maybe piggybacking on the two previous senators’ questions. We do feel the authority to make sure we set guidelines for pay. That’s our role in the constitution. But if we’ve got everybody doing this, and we’ve got open positions that are then becoming capable of smoothing, we need to know that if it’s more than just this one constitutional office.


Burlington (Audit): Well, let me be clear. We relied on the Uniform Classification and Compensation Act when we had our findings back in May and June. To this particular finding, that act is not relevant. What is relevant is article 16, section 4 that lets you folks, and then the 19-4-601. So that’s kind of a red herring in this particular argument.


Sen Pitsch: But I guess I’d feel better if we’re dealing with one entity, clearly, like Senator Hickey said, I don’t want to challenge the AG’s office. But if I’m a constitutional officer, and I’m seeing this happen, I’d happen to know, being involved with Budget, we’ve got a lot of open, unfilled positions, and I don’t know that any of them are doing the same thing or not doing the same thing. And I would think that would be a role in scope for the Audit committee to find out in state agencies.


Burlington (Audit): I will say this, when we did that, we looked at all state employees to see if they were over line item max.


Sen Pitsch: Okay, and then what you found was–


Burlington (Audit): Well, there were some others in that special report. Today we’re talking about just the AG, but there were some others in that report.


Sen Pitsch: That answers the question for future legislation. Thank you.


Rep Lundstrum: Senator Hammer.


Sen Hammer: Census report and census special report. Have you all paid out any more bonuses or salary retentions?


Bowen (AG): I will get the exact number for you. There were about eight employees, I believe, that we gave raises to to bring them up to parity with other departments within the Attorney General’s Office.


Sen Hammer: Okay. Can I ask Frank a question?


Rep Lundstrum: Yes.


Sen Hammer: How was that resolved back in that case you cited? You said the employees had to pay it back. Who was it made them pay it back? Was it the agency, legislature? Who made them pay it back?


Arey (Audit): That was an illegal exaction case. Taxpayers sued saying the board couldn’t do this, couldn’t create these positions and just award them a salary without your blessing. And so the court said, “Yes, in this illegal exaction case, they’re going to have to pay it back.” So it was the court that made them do it.


Sen Hammer: What I really hate to see happen is we’re right here caught between the crosshairs, and you got employees out there that have gotten this money, and anything like that happen. But I don’t, quite honestly, without somebody initiating action, basically nothing will happen unless somebody initiate actions in order to make it happen. Am I missing it?


Arey (Audit): Unless the legislature somehow exercises its power of the purse.


Sen Hammer: Okay. Thank you.


Rep Lundstrum: Representative Payton.


Rep Payton: Thank you, Madam Chair. My question is, during the budget process, when the agency submitted their request, were these lines itemized, or did you submit a request that was just a general salary and wages line appropriation?


Bowen (AG): Sorry, I was conferring to make sure that my answer was going to be correct. I believe it was a line item.


Rep Payton: So the agency’s own request for an appropriation bill included specific language itemizing the caps that were exceeded?


Bowen (AG): I think there is a distinguishment between the caps and whether the salaries were exceeded or bonuses were given. And again, focusing on the original audit that Audit submitted to us, it was based on a statutory authority with which we disagreed.


Rep Payton: Well, I would concur with the senator that suggested we have a much tighter appropriation process going forward if we’re going to be dealing with an agency that would submit it one way and then practice it a different way. Thank you, Madam Chair.


Rep Lundstrum: I have a follow-up question. How much did you cut your budget by?


Bowen (AG): We had at least $1.6 million in salary savings and another roughly 8% overall. I will get you an exact number on the overall budget cut.


Rep Lundstrum: Knowing how much you’ve cut the budget by, we don’t allow the latitude to use that money in other ways, correct?


Bowen (AG): I think it would– my general answer is it would depend on where those monies were cut in our specific budget.


Rep Lundstrum: Okay. Senator Hammer, you had a question.


Sen Hammer: Well, first of all, if I may make a statement, I don’t think anybody’s arguing that the Attorney General’s Office has done an outstanding job representing the State of Arkansas. I think that’s without debate. It’s just the question of what the law allows and doesn’t allow that seems to be the crossroads, at least in my opinion. And the savings is great, but the justification, I think, is maybe weak based on the disagreement between Legislative Audit and the Attorney General’s Office. Are there other areas within the agency where you’ve exercised the same latitude of moving money within the appropriated amount that may have been outside of the amounts that were presented in the budget?


Bowen (AG): Not that I am aware. But we will use settlement dollars to shift to pay experts. Recently, a donation was given to the Arkansas State Police as well from settlement dollars. In that area, we do have flexibility to move around money internally to pay for the bills of the Office of the Attorney General.


Sen Hammer: Okay, thank you.


Rep Lundstrum: Representative Womack.


Rep Womack: Thank you, Miss Chair. You said that you and Legislative Audit disagreed on the statute. What statute do you cite, I’m curious, that you believe gives you the authority to exceed those?


Bowen (AG): So during the original Audit finding– and I’m sorry, I’ll have to go back and look. I don’t have that original in front of me. There were two sections that Audit originally came to us and said we have a finding on these two bases. The Uniform Class and Compensation Act and a subsequent section of that code were the original basis of the finding of Audit.


Rep Womack: So what statute do you think gives you the authority to– I guess I’m just not understanding.


Bowen (AG): We disagreed with Audit as to whether the subsequent section of the Class and Compensation Act applied to the Office of the Attorney General.


Rep Womack: Okay, I understand that. So what statute are you standing on that you believe does give you the authority?


Bowen (AG): Our exemption from the Uniform Class and Compensation Act, which Audit cited as the reason for the finding. And again, I’m happy to follow up with you and give you those citations to what were in the original audit.


Rep Womack: I don’t know if I just don’t understand or if you can’t point me to a specific statute. If I just can’t understand–


Bowen (AG): So let me try to explain better. When Audit came to us, they had a finding that they said that we could not give raises or merit bonuses within a certain time frame of the year based on the Uniform Class and Compensation Act and a subsequent code section that followed. And I’m sorry, I don’t have that citation in front of me. I’m happy to get it. We took the position that we are exempt solely by the Class and Compensation Act as other constitutional officers are as well as the legislative body, and the subsequent section of the code that led to Audit cited did not apply to the Office of the Attorney General.


Rep Womack: Okay. I don’t know. If I’m just confused, but we’re talking about different findings now, right?


Bowen (AG): Respectfully, sir, it seems that the focus of the audit has shifted from the statutory authority to the constitutional authority.


Rep Lundstrum: Members, I think it would be wise now to let this marinate and hold this over. Senator Dismang.


Sen Dismang: Yeah, my request, or maybe direct staff, however you want to do it, motion, not. It doesn’t matter to me. But our staff needs to communicate with BLR, Kevin Anderson and his team, and the Attorney General’s Office. And I think we need a reconciliation where everyone is square on what we can and cannot do because we’re not technically writing appropriation bills correctly, according to the Attorney General’s Office. And this has nothing to do with the AG’s Office, even this particular issue, but it’s the impact that it will have across all constitutional offices if we start a precedent here. And so, I really do believe it’s something that needs to be reconciled, and if we could direct our staff to meet with Bureau and then the AG’s Office to make sure we can be on the same page, to know where we are and how to move forward.


Rep Lundstrum: Yes, and we can do that and still file the report. And I want to thank the Attorney General’s Office. I know they’ve had an exceptional burden this year with handling a lot of legislative issues and defending the state of Arkansas, and they’ve done an excellent job. Senator Hickey.


Bowen (AG): Thank you.


Sen Hickey: I would prefer not to file the report because I don’t want to give any indication that we agree with this at all. And I understand that is not what that does, but even the way this response was written has really put us in a box because it starts off and it talks about all constitutional offices. So the response not only is just talking about the AG, it’s talking about all constitutional offices. And then, the last sentence says that we’re going to comply– we’re going to continue to comply. So in other words, we have complied with all statutes and the Arkansas Constitution. So actually, the response itself is actually, it’s almost teeing it up for a lack of a better word. As Senator Dismang said, we’re going to have to figure out some way to get some closure on this to see which way we need to go forward.


Rep Lundstrum: Senator Hickey, would you just prefer to hold the report over until we can come to a conclusion?


Sen Hickey: Yes, ma’am, if you do not mind.


Rep Lundstrum: No, I do not mind. Is that a–


Sen Hickey: Thank you. That’s a motion at the appropriate time.


Rep Lundstrum: Senator Sullivan.


Sen Sullivan: A question. So do you anticipate any further bonuses this year using– as Senator Hickey said, you can continue this. So do you anticipate continuing to use this, your reasoning to have bonus is going into the end of the year?


Bowen (AG): As far as bonuses, I’m not aware of any bonuses that we will issue prior to the end of our administration. I may have a couple of raise requests from our deputies or some of our assistant attorneys.


Sen Sullivan: So raise requests above what’s appropriated?


Bowen (AG): No, sir. No, just a general raise.


Sen Sullivan: Okay. That’s the question.


Bowen (AG): I’m sorry.


Sen Sullivan: So we’re debating this. It’s going above the appropriation line. Do you anticipate any financial adjustments that go above the appropriated level–


Bowen (AG): No, sir.


Sen Sullivan: –throughout the end of the year? Okay. Thank you.


Rep Lundstrum: All right. So the conclusion is we will hold this report over, and that’s the will of the body. All in favor?


Committee members: Aye.


Rep Lundstrum: All right. Any opposed? All right. Thank you.


Bowen (AG): Thank you, Madam Chair.


Rep Lundstrum: Thank you.


Bowen (AG): Thank you, members.


Rep Lundstrum: All right. Next up, we have State Auditor? We have the State Auditor. Jessica Keith, Chief of Staff, are you here?


State Auditor

Burlington (Audit): All right. Thank you, Madam Chair. As you mentioned, the next report with findings is the Auditor of State June 30, 2021, report. This report also contains one finding. The agency identified and notified us on October 29, 2021, of a salary overpayment to a deputy prosecuting attorney for four months from July 15 through October 31, 2021, totaling almost $4,000. The salary was over recorded in the payroll system during the merit increase process. This over payment was fully recouped on January 21 of this year. That concludes finding.


Rep Lundstrum: Mrs. Keith.


Keith (Auditor): Yes, Madam Chair.


Rep Lundstrum: Any comments? I think the problem has probably been solved, but.


Keith (Auditor): It has. So I would like to speak to the root of the problem. We have an extremely manual payroll system at the Auditor of State’s Office. We aren’t on ASIS, and it works for these routine agencies that we pay. We pay all of your salaries. We pay the constitutional officers’ salaries. We pay for our office. We pay judges’ salaries. All of these groups have very, very routine increases. The ICC meets and awards an increase to everyone. We implement those. That’s easy for us to handle in our manual payroll system, but these deputy prosecuting attorneys, it’s a completely different case. So in fiscal year 2022, we went back and looked. We conducted 790 manual payroll adjustments for them. So at the beginning of the year, you start with about 290 people in your payroll system. That’s already there, no manual inputs required. So over the course of the year, 790 changes. And when you’re talking about a manual payroll system, that’s really impactful. And so I hate that these occurrences happen, but due to the volume, and then not only the volume, these are all individual employees. They’re not getting a 2% raise across the board. This week, we have four raises for someone. They’re all different. Next week, we have 10 terminations. We have six new hires. It’s a huge variety of the type of transactions that are happening. So with that, our office is really recommending that these move to the Office of the Prosecutor Coordinator. They are the ones who are aware of these personnel actions. And we think that they would be better suited to handle that payroll because they also are in ASIS, and they have a better control environment for that. Thank you.


Rep Lundstrum: Thank you. Any questions? Seeing none–


Sen Hickey: Do we need legislation to do that? Have you researched that? Is that what you’re saying?


Keith (Auditor): Yes.


Sen Hickey: Okay. Is your office going to kind of take the lead to get with a couple of legislators so that we can look into that and make sure there’s no issues?


Keith (Auditor): Obviously, Auditor Lea is term limited, so.


Sen Hickey: I understand.


Keith (Auditor): She has spoke with auditor-elect Milligan and advised him of this. So, yes.


Sen Hickey: Okay. Thank you.


Keith (Auditor): You’re welcome.


Rep Lundstrum: All right. Thank you. Good point. We will accept that report as filed.


Keith (Auditor): Thank you.


Rep Lundstrum: All right. Next up, we have Game and Fish. No. Health Department. I’m sorry.


Health Department

Minority Health Commission

Burlington (Audit): The next report with findings is the Department of Health June 30, 2021, report. And this report contains five findings. The first finding, as required by DFA’s Financial Management Guide, state government agencies must have an established system of internal control that provides reasonable assurance regarding achievement of objectives and operations, reporting, and compliance. The purpose of internal control is to reduce the likelihood of fraud, waste, and abuse by preventing, detecting, or correcting misstatements and noncompliance. For 2021, management repeatedly overrode or ignored internal controls, and this is detailed in the subsequent audit findings more specifically, which has led to noncompliance with state laws and regulations. So to get into more of those specifics, the second finding, the agency failed to follow procurement guidelines for certain transactions involving the Office of Health Equity. Examples of this failure include competitive bids were not obtained for services valued at $5,000 and $20,000 from two vendors as required by ADH policies.


Burlington (Audit): Services were also provided prior to the execution of a purchase order agreement. There were invoices that were split from one vendor in an attempt to not exceed known procurement limits. A $350,000 contract was executed with one of the vendors after specific bid details from a third vendor were shared and used to make the winning bid. As of July 31, 2022, payments on this contract totaled over $90,000. And the agency was unable to provide evidence of any deliverables from this vendor. Also, procurement guidelines require the agency to evaluate a vendor’s ability to satisfactory provide services at the best value to the state. But on multiple occasions, the agency guided the vendor in completing forms and even recommended that the vendor increased the budget for the project with no recognizable benefits to the state. And the last one was that input and approval from ADH grants management contract section was often bypassed and intentionally omitted during the procurement process. The third finding– do you want to do them individually? Okay. The third finding, during our testing of p-card expenditures, we identified two instances in which the agency management split purchase between multiple p-cards in violation of p-card policies because the items acquired exceeded the purchasing limit of a p-card. They could have contacted DFA to request a temporary increase in the purchasing limit of the card. A fourth finding, during our testing of capital assets, six items belonging to the State Medical Board were selected for review, but the agency was unable to locate five of the items with a historical cost of almost $25,000. Additionally, the agency did not conduct a year-end inventory of capital assets held at the State Medical Board. And the last finding, the agency has established an internal control requiring program officers that receive cash to prepare monthly reconciliation reports to verify that receipts agree with the revenues that are recognized in the accounting system and submit those reports to the Office of Finance. Of the 64 program locations identified by ADH, 14 did not submit a total of 90 monthly reports during the year. And four programs did not submit a reconciliation report at all during the year. Madam Chair, that concludes the findings.


Rep Lundstrum: Thank you. If you could state your name for the committee, please.


Mallory (ADH): Renee Mallory, Interim Secretary of Health.


Rep Lundstrum: Okay. Are you turned on down there? Thank you.


Mallory (ADH): Renee Mallory, Interim Secretary of Health.


Rep Lundstrum: All right.


Adams (ADH): Don Adams, Deputy Director for Administration and Interim Chief of Staff.


Rep Lundstrum: All right. Let’s take these one by one. Let’s start with finding number one. If you could go over that and let the committee ask you a few questions.


Adams (ADH): Yes, ma’am. Thank you. So the finding number one, as my understanding from discussions with the legislative auditors, it really is a reference to finding two, which contains numerous issues. And I think the auditors were more than fair because there were multiple issues in finding two. And because there were multiple issues, they added finding one. And finding two relates to an office, a small office that we have inside our department that received a grant during the pandemic, a fairly large grant to work with minority and rural communities related to COVID response. And in this office, in the process of contracting and subgranting this money, they circumvented a lot of our rules and controls.


Adams (ADH): Now in our response to that, we became aware of that, upper management. We immediately called for an investigation. We voluntarily notified Leg Audit of these concerns. The internal audit was complete in December of 2021. We took action based on those results. We removed the director from that office. And then we also contacted the Office of Inspector General, Internal Audit Department and referred some of these findings to that office to further investigate. And that was in February of 2022. And then subsequently, we got that report in May of 2022. And we made those moves, those reassignments permanent. We put this office underneath our chief fiscal officer, Jo Thompson. All fiscal operations were under her oversight and control. We also added some additional administrative support staff, very experienced in subgrants and contracts. And so we have taken the necessary steps. We identified this early when these problems arose. And we, I think, responded appropriately once we became aware that some of these subgrants and contracts were not procured correctly. I’ll be glad to answer any questions.


Rep Lundstrum: Representative Richardson.


Rep Richardson: Thank you, Madam Chair. So am I understanding you correctly, that you relieved the director of their duty? But are they still with the department?


Adams (ADH): No. They’re not. They’re not with the department. We have a new director in that office.


Rep Richardson: Okay. So they’re no longer with any agency?


Adams (ADH): Correct.


Rep Lundstrum: They’re not an employee in the State of Arkansas at all?


Adams (ADH): Correct.


Rep Lundstrum: Okay.


Rep Lundstrum: What does the Office of Health Equity do, and what’s their complete budget? I see 350,000 contracts executed, but is that the total budget?


Adams (ADH): This grant was $40 million. So this was a very large grant for this office. And so up to that point, they’d had a very small budget. So this was a lot of money for that office, and there were just a lot of procedural problems in how they executed getting that money out to the community.


Rep Lundstrum: 40 million. Wow. Any other questions from the committee? Senator Hammer.


Sen Hammer: I may have missed it, but who were the grants made to that were in question you referred to a while ago? What were the organizations?


Adams (ADH): Can I pause right quick?


Sen Hammer: Sure.


Adams (ADH): One contract was with an individual called Marcus McClendon. His company was called the 1647 Group. And the other was Nikita Williams, and her company was called Williams Consulting, I believe.


Sen Hammer: Would there any liability or responsibility on their part? And if so, has that been fulfilled?


Adams (ADH): Based on my assessment, Senator Hammer, the errors occurred on our part, not on the vendor’s part.


Sen Hammer: And of the 40 million, how much actually went out the door?


Adams (ADH): I have staff here that can answer that question, so I can get that for you. I’m not sure what the current amount that been spent versus what our balance is, but we can get that here in just a second.


Sen Hammer: I think that would be very helpful to know where that 40 million went and how that was. Yes, ma’am, please.


Thompson (ADH): Good afternoon. I’m Jo Thompson, Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Health. To date, out of that $40 million grant, we’ve barely spent $1.4 million. After we realized there were some issues there, we halted all expenses, and we did a thorough review, even resubmitted our project plan to the CDC. So at this point, we’ve spent less than $2 million of the $40 million.


Rep Lundstrum: That sounds wise. Senator Pitsch.


Sen Pitsch: Well, thank you, Madam Chairman. That was my question. If we’d spend any more, and I don’t know what is the right level to advise staff, we need to go find out where that money went, too. But since they’ve shut it down, maybe that’s immaterial.


Adams (ADH): If I might add. I don’t think there’s any question about any theft of funds or missing funds. It was just the procurement methods and the solicitation methods to secure these vendors and subgrants was not appropriately done in the beginning. And I can assure you that all invoices and receipts, and this is being very thoroughly looked at in our department right now, and it has been since these audit findings or since we discovered these problems.


Rep Lundstrum: Senator Dismang.


Sen Dismang: And I understand that. I mean, that’s a little bit of conflict with the way that it’s written, at least as far as the findings. Because if we were knowingly attempting to undermine the limits by splitting an invoice in two or whatever it may be, maybe that’s not criminal, but I’d be surprised that it’s– I mean, if you’re evading our laws or something through that, our procurement law. And I guess I’ll ask because I’m curious, who are we talking about here, director-wise, that was over the agency? And how many other folks were in that spot?


Adams (ADH): If I might add, Senator, Dismang, we have an active EOC complaint on this issue. And we have lawyers that have been engaged on this issue and with the potential threat of legal action in the future. So I don’t know that it would be wise for the state to say anything that would be disparaging towards individuals. But I’ll turn this–


Sen Dismang: I’m not being disparaging. We’re saying that nothing criminal happened or whatever. That’s fine. You don’t have to agree or disagree. I think it’s odd that the findings say that it was knowingly done, that whoever this individual is that we won’t name, undermined the procurement law knowingly, which is intentional, which leads to a problem, I would think. But I’ll let it be there.


Rep Lundstrum: Senator Sullivan.


Sen Sullivan: If it’s a former department director, isn’t that public information?


Adams (ADH): Yes, it is. It is public information, and anybody who wants that information– I think it would be wise not to, in a public forum like this, to say anything that would be disparaging–


Sen Sullivan: If folks want to know who it is, they can find out who it is fairly easily?


Adams (ADH): Yes, sir.


Sen Sullivan: Right. Without you disclosing that in this forum, correct?


Adams (ADH): Yes, sir.


Sen Sullivan: Okay. Thanks.


Rep Lundstrum: Senator Hammer and then Senator Hickey.


Sen Hammer: Thank you. I just want to make sure I’m following right. The two groups that you mentioned a while ago and the individual in question that you’re hesitant about going any deeper with, are they all three tied together? Are we talking about all the same?


Adams (ADH): No. The vendor and the subgrantee and the contractor, they’re outside the agency, of course.


Sen Hammer: Right. But the individual that we’re not naming was working directly with the two groups that you mentioned a minute ago, the Williams and the Marcus?


Adams (ADH): Yes. It was part of her job to work with those subgrantees and contractors. Yes. But of course, there are some findings in relation to how she interacted with those that was inappropriate.


Sen Hammer: Right, which is part of finding number two, am I right on that? Part of finding number two was it was revealing what a third vendor was doing, and that information was being fed to these other two, right?


Adams (ADH): Correct. That was inappropriate, right.


Sen Hammer: Right. And those two didn’t know that was happening, is that your testimony today? Or is that part of what is being determined, how much they knew and what they knew and when they knew it, kind of stuff?


Adams (ADH): Well, I don’t know that the contractor or the subgrantee knew that it was inappropriate when she was receiving that information. No. I don’t think that she did.


Sen Hammer: Okay. All right. Thank you.


Rep Lundstrum: Senator Hickey.


Sen Hickey: Yes. And I want to say I appreciate– I heard what you said that you all found, that you all brought it before Leg Audit, also the Inspector General. I think that’s noteworthy. And did I understand you to say that the Inspector General, have you got a report back from them where they thoroughly investigated this to make sure that there was no relationships of any sort or type between this person that worked for the state and any of the vendors or contractors or subcontractors or whatever was involved?


Adams (ADH): The Office of Inspector General, their investigation was limited to two allegations or two findings in our internal report, that we felt like needed additional investigation. And so that wasn’t really a part of their scope of what they investigated. But I do believe Leg Audit has mentioned or cited some concerns about inappropriate relationships and their information.


Sen Hickey: And if I missed it, I’m sorry. Has this been turned over to prosecuting attorney or anything? Was there– Okay. So we didn’t do that?


Adams (ADH): The Office of Inspector General did take one of the two issues, that was, they deemed it as a problem, but it was inconclusive as to who was responsible for the issue. They did turn that over to the State Police, and the State Police chose not to further investigate.


Burlington (Audit): And Senator Hickey, from our perspective, we didn’t see anything here that we thought– this is just noncompliance issues with the procurement guidelines, internal policies. We didn’t see anything here that we thought needed to be referred to the prosecutor.


Sen Hickey: Right. Well, the whole thing, just to be honest, I don’t like the way it smells. I might as well just say it the way it is. I mean, what you had is you had an employee here. We’ve got $350,000 that went out without– again, I appreciate what you all have done, but some way, somehow, we need to make sure that there was no relationships of any sort or type. And if the Inspector General, if they have not investigated that, I’m not for sure that we don’t need somebody to appropriately do it. Because I also understand that there’s another lawsuit, I guess, from what your comment just was with the EOC, that now someone’s trying to sort of say that they were fired because of race or something to that nature. Is that correct?


Adams (ADH): There’s a complaint filed with that organization.


Sen Hickey: Okay. I don’t want you to give me any more information than–


Adams (ADH): And if I could speak to that $350,000 grant and expand on that just a little bit. That was a subgrant given to this subgrantee. The internal auditor assigned to the department asked for invoices. We had paid, at the time, $90,000 to that subgrantee on that $350,000. The auditor requested the invoices and the documentation of the work that was done, and our employee, unfortunately, didn’t provide it. It existed, and we subsequently gave the information, the deliverables and the receipts, the invoices and everything. And I don’t think there’s a dispute about the work that they’ve done. It’s just they asked for the information, and unfortunately, it wasn’t given to them before these audit findings came out. But they have been given to them.


Rep Lundstrum: Senator Hickey, if you have a follow up.


Sen Hickey: How long was she the director? He, she, whatever it was?


Adams (ADH): 11 years, I believe.


Sen Hickey: Okay.


Adams (ADH): And my counsel has advised me to state clearly that no one was fired in this situation, that everyone voluntarily left, of those that we’re discussing.


Sen Hickey: Okay. Thank you.


Rep Lundstrum: Senator Pitsch.


Sen Pitsch: I guess mine kind of went with the last line of questioning. I was going to ask that we go inspect the actual usage and inspectors who are on audit the actual usage. And I also think you did exactly what we needed to do in shutting it down. But still, I believe you said $1.2 was spent, and I think it might behoove us as a state– every dollar of taxpayer dollars we’re in charge of and oversight. I think I’ve heard that we’ve approved no, whatever you want to say, nefarious things done with it, but I think we need to make sure that’s true. Whether we need to bring a prosecuting attorney, whether we can do that as an audit agency, since it is a state agency, I’m not sure of the legalese of that.


Adams (ADH): We’ve looked into the expenditures related to this finding in depth.


Sen Pitsch: And all you found was the guidelines were in violation?


Adams (ADH): That’s correct. Now, there will be some more of that that got spent in FY 2022. Some of this wasn’t FY 2022, but there will be additional that will be subject to our next audit as well.


Sen Pitsch: Follow up.


Adams (ADH): So we will look at that.


Sen Pitsch: So your findings and looking at the usage and the process was strictly the process wasn’t followed correctly.


Adams (ADH): That’s correct.


Sen Pitsch: Okay. Thank you, Tom.


Rep Lundstrum: I have a question. Is there a way we could get a list of exactly where that money went, all $1.4 million? Names and addresses of how that money was actually spent in the agency, where it went to or the person?


Thompson (ADH): To multiple persons. This grant, the $40 million, is spread among salaries, fringe, multiple subgrants throughout the state. And then also we partnered with different parts of our Center for Local Public Health. So some of these funds are actually going for renovations within our local health unit. So, yes, we can get you a listing of all expenses to date and how it’s been allocated.


Rep Lundstrum: All right, thank you. Any other questions from the body? Thank you, members. All right, moving on to finding number three. This is the P card issue.


Adams (ADH): Madam Chair, do you want me to make a statement or just wait for questions?


Rep Lundstrum: Yes. Please, go ahead.


Adams (ADH): Okay. So in this particular issue, what we had was one of our centers that was purchasing some equipment specifically for vaccine clinics during the early stages, and for vaccine clinics and testing events early in the pandemic. When we were doing testing, we were not bringing those patients into our local health units, which could potentially expose our patients and staff to symptomatic patients. So we were conducting vaccine clinics and testing events in our parking lots at our local health units. So we were purchasing some awnings and tents that the patients could get under and our staff could get under. So the amount of these awnings that we were purchasing exceeded the limit of this particular center’s purchase card. And most centers have multiple purchase cards in different centers and different sections. And so instead of requesting to raise the self-imposed limit on that card, they used two cards instead. So we would have approved the limit to be raised, and we would have ended up purchasing– I’m not trying to minimize it. We would have ended up purchasing what was necessary, but in this instance, they made a mistake in splitting it between two cards instead of asking for one card to be raised so that they could purchase it.


Rep Lundstrum: These are awnings and tents that are over $10,000?


Adams (ADH): I think collectively. We have 90-something local health units around the state.


Rep Lundstrum: Okay, questions from the body? Okay, hearing none, Number four.


Adams (ADH): This particular finding relates to one of our boards that we acquired in 2019 transition. And of course, keeping in mind that this audit is from fiscal year 2021, we put a lot of controls in place since then. I don’t think the medical board had been subject to Legislative Audit prior to transition, so this was a learning curve and growing for all of us. But I think we’ve made significant progress and put controls in place that we’ll have much better inventory control and management moving forward. So we’re optimistic this was a one-time issue and that we’ve made the appropriate steps to correct this.


Rep Lundstrum: Members, any questions? Have you been able to find the five items in question?


ADH Staff: Today, no. We have not. But with the systems that we have in place going forward, we’ll be able to monitor anything, any purchases that are assets, to make sure that they are on the inventory.


Rep Lundstrum: Okay, members, any questions? Okay, number five.


Adams (ADH): I’m going to defer to my CFO, if that’s okay, Madam Chair, to cover this item.


Thompson (ADH): Yes, ma’am. Overall, each month we request that these revenue reconciliations are submitted. And for at least two years, this was cited as a supplemental letter as an issue within our agency. And so we are at fault for not being a little more– being harder on our programs. But as of September 2021, we have been harder on our programs, and we no longer have this problem at all. As of today, we are in full compliance with those monthly revenue reconciliations.


Rep Lundstrum: Thank you. Any questions from the body? Hearing none, all right. Any questions on the full report? And moving forward, I understand that we’re not spending any more of the $40 million. What’s the plan moving forward on that?


Thompson (ADH): I apologize if I misled you. Yes, we still are spending towards the $40 million. The plans now, as I explained, we have multiple subgrants throughout the state, as well as we have staff salaries and funds that are going into our local health units for renovation. So each month we have project officers that monitor every allocation of funds. So we’re just continuing as intended when we receive the funds.


Rep Lundstrum: Okay, and you have the rules in place that we’re not going to be seeing any more issue with this?


Thompson (ADH): Yes, we have internal controls, and we have several layers of review and approval before any funds are approved for payment.


Rep Lundstrum: Okay. I would like to hear more about this. And I’m sure the members of this committee, if you could email Mr. Burlington, we’d like to hear more about that.


Thompson (ADH): Will do.


Rep Lundstrum: So we could follow up. Are there any more questions from the body? All right, Move to accept? Motion to file? Second? Second by Representative Bentley. All in favor? Aye. All right.


Covid contact tracing

Burlington (Audit): Madam Chair, in addition to the findings with the Health Department, we had a request from a legislator a while back for us to go get some information on contact tracing, the expenditures that the Health Department made on contact tracing. So we’ve gathered some information, and we’ve had this information for a while, but they wanted to wait till we had the regular findings, just do it all at once. So you should have a copy of that letter in your packet. It’s on Legislative Audit letterhead. And as you can see in that summary, there were basically four vendors that were used for the contact tracing activities, to the tune, from inception until the end of June, has spent about $100 million on contact tracing. And so you should have a letter in there. And as you all know, Health Department people are here to answer any questions that you have.


Rep Lundstrum: If the folks from the Health Department that are here to answer questions could come to the end of the table. If you could please identify yourself.


Dillaha (ADH): Good afternoon. I’m Jennifer Dillaha, Director of the Arkansas Department of Health.


Rep Lundstrum: Thank you, Dr. Dillaha. Thank you.


Thompson (ADH): And I’m Jo Thompson, Chief Financial Officer, Department of Health.


Rep Lundstrum: Thank you, Ms. Thompson. All right. Senator Sullivan.


Sen Sullivan: So after over $100 million spent, did we find out that the contract tracing had any positive impact on the transmission? Do we have any data to show that?


Dillaha (ADH): Yes, sir. There are general studies that show that contact tracing and case–


Sen Sullivan: That’s not what I’m asking now. So we’ve spent $100 million, and we have data showing that what we spent has positive outcomes. Not what studies do, but what we spent. Do we have any data saying that that was effective?


Dillaha (ADH): Yes, sir. So what we can show was that our hospitalizations and deaths as a result of the contact tracing and case investigation were effective in keeping our hospitals from being overwhelmed, as well as showing that the deaths that were excess deaths were lower than they would have been.


Sen Sullivan: Can you send that information? And I’d like to see that, please. Thank you.


Dillaha (ADH): Yes, sir.


Rep Lundstrum: Any other questions? I have one. How many contact tracing actions did we perform?


Dillaha (ADH): So from the end of June of 2020 through the end of February of 2022, we did case investigations, and that included 429,164 case investigations. And that’s different from the contact tracing. You do the case investigation first, which is an interview for the positive case. The interviewer finds out when they became symptomatic, where they might have been exposed, and educates them about what to do for isolation, and then they follow up with their contacts. And those contacts is what we call contact tracing. And so there were– during that time period, there were a total of 658,282 contacts that were followed up.


Rep Lundstrum: Okay. Senator Dismang.


Sen Dismang: You said 491,000?


Dillaha (ADH): So there were 429,000 cases that were interviewed, the case investigation under the contract. So about half the contract was case investigation, and about half was contact tracing.


Sen Dismang: And we’re done with all of that at this point, correct?


Dillaha (ADH): Yes, sir.


Rep Lundstrum: I guess my question would be, what was the bang for the buck here? How much did it cost per case to trace all these folks? $240?


Dillaha (ADH): I don’t have a figure on the case.


Thompson (ADH): We didn’t pay by that way. Now, we could do the calculations for that, but that’s not how we issue payments to the vendors per contact tracing episode. We didn’t use that unit of measure.


Rep Lundstrum: Okay. Any other questions from the members? Okay. Seeing none, do you have any other questions? We receive it as filed. Is that the will of the body? So moved. Thank you, Senator Hickey. I don’t know what I’d do without you. No, I don’t think everybody feels that way. I’ll take that as a second. All right. Anything else, Mr. Burlington?


Game and Fish

Burlington (Audit): So the next report we have with findings is the Game and Fish Commission. And this report contains one finding. The Game and Fish Commission notified us that on October 31, 2021, that a wildlife officer realized his state-issued ATV with an estimated value of over $5,000 had been stolen from the front of his residence. A police report was filed with the Manila Police Department with this, and we referred this to the prosecuting attorney. That concludes the finding.


Rep Lundstrum: Is there anybody from Game and Fish here?


Racey (Game and Fish): Good afternoon, Madam Chair. Members. Chris Racey, Chief of Staff for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.


Shumate (Game and Fish): Emily Shumate, CFO.


Rep Lundstrum: Thank you. So I take it we have an ATV missing and nobody’s fessed up.


Racey (Game and Fish): That’s correct. We have not recovered that item. Again, police report was filed. We self-reported. We did an internal report immediately following the incident and have continued to follow up with trying to enhance our protocols, visiting with our staff on how best to take care of the state property in the future to make sure that we don’t have a follow up incident of this nature to the best of our ability.


Rep Lundstrum: Thank you. Any questions? Any comments? Okay. We’ll take this report as received. We have one more?


Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission

Burlington (Audit): Yes, ma’am, we have one more report. And the last report today is the Judicial Discipline Disability Commission, which also has one finding. During our testing of expenditures, we noted that the Commission overpaid invoices to a record storage vendor and did not properly pay the invoices for the year under review. Due to the exceptions that we noted, we expanded our view to include all invoices for this vendor for fiscal years 2020 through 2022. And we noted that the Commission paid for September 2019, October 2020, and November 2020, they paid for those months twice, resulting in overpayments of $400. Also, the vendor did not follow the lease agreement in monthly billing. Specifically, they overcharged for standard deliveries, and they overcharged for the lease space. And for these items, the overpayments resulted in $200 of overpayments. And lastly, the Commission did not pay the invoices promptly, which resulted in late fees totaling almost $100,000. And it’s my understanding, Madam Chair, that the vendor has reimbursed all those costs back to the agency. That concludes the funding.


Stacker (Judicial): David J. Stacker for the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. Could you repeat the part about late fees? Because I don’t think we have $100,000.


Burlington (Audit): No, it was $100. I’m sorry.


Stacker (Judicial): Thank you.


Burlington (Audit): I’m sorry. $100.


Stacker (Judicial): We’ve been talking about a lot of big numbers here.


Burlington (Audit): I think it was about $800 total that got paid back.


Stacker (Judicial): For everything that’s been talked about. Thank you very much.


Burlington (Audit): My apologies.


Stacker (Judicial): That kind of shocked me with a $750,000 budget. I thought my afternoon was going to get very long.


Rep Lundstrum: Yeah. Now that everybody’s awake. All right, so we’re back at zero on this one.


Stacker (Judicial): Yes, ma’am. If I could just respond quickly. We were alerted to this by the auditor and were able to get full reimbursement from the vendor. I actually explained to the vendor that they could come here and explain it to you, or they could reimburse us, because we had the finding. We were able to get all the money back. It was clearly just some sort of billing glitch. I guess they increased their monthly amount by a small amount, a matter of dollars, while we were still under contract. Quite frankly, I’m concerned if much larger agencies have used them. That might be something that audit looks for, because we’re a small agency with 300 files a year. But I can imagine if they’re used for other state agencies, they might have overcharged them as well. I’m glad we were able to recover everything, and I appreciate the insight.


Rep Lundstrum: Any questions? All right, thank you so much for your time.


Stacker (Judicial): Thank you all very much. Have a great Christmas season.


Rep Lundstrum: All right, that concludes today’s business. Any questions or comments for the good of the body? All right. Seeing nothing else, we’ll put everything as filed. Thank you all.