February 12, 2010

Executive Department has missing equipment, poor inventory controls, auditors say

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By Natalie Neumann
Natalie@MarylandReporter.com

The Executive Department, which includes the Governor’s Office, couldn’t account for more that $18,000 in new computer equipment that was lost or stolen, including a laptop and a digital camera, legislative auditors said in a report this month.

But the governor’s staff eventually found seven of the eight missing items, according to a response from Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Chief of Staff Matthew Gallagher.

While the audit covered the first two years of the O’Malley administration, the problems with inventory control in the Executive Department had persisted from a previous audit of former Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s administration.

The audit covered not just O’Malley’s direct staff but all the boards and commissions within his office, including all the ethnic commissions, the Office of Crime Control and Prevention, the Office of Minority Affairs and State Ethics Commission. Altogether these units spend $114 million annually, while the budget for the governor’s direct staff is $9.5 million.

From O’Malley’s inauguration Jan. 17, 2007 until March 31, 2009, legislative auditors said there was $451,000 in equipment that was thought to be missing or stolen. The items turned out to be old, obsolete equipment that had been upgraded and not yet removed from the inventory log of the Department of General Services, due to poor record keeping. DGS is supposed to approve removing equipment from its inventory list.

Other records of equipment didn’t match what was reported to General Services. The Executive Department’s detailed records showed $196,000 more in equipment than what was reported to the department.

The Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives took over Baltimore’s Banneker Douglas Museum in July 2008. But auditors found that records of the museum’s items, including fine art, had not been made.

Auditors also found the State Ethics Commission and Volunteer Maryland didn’t divide duties to provide proper controls on cash and other funds. The audit advised the Executive Department on how to separate duties with existing personnel.

Gallagher agreed to implement all the auditor’s recommendations. “We anticipate that most, if not all, of the identified deficiencies will be resolved with the submission of the fiscal year 2010 year-end inventory reports,” Gallagher said.