Most employees who were signed up immediately for a retirement annuity plan either had a valid contract or the required experience when they started work. But many of those employees got their contract just before they started; they had not been enrolled in a valid plan at another school. The State incurs a cost of about $250,000 a year to pick up these employee’ retirement contributions. The Legislature will need to determine if it intended for these contibutions to be picked up.
Tax Incentives or Reductions Available to Kansas Businesses
The audit provides an inventory of major taxes levied on businesses in Kansas and summarizes statutory exemptions, exclusions, deductions, and other provisions that can allow businesses to reduce their taxes. When available, an estimate of the fiscal impact of each of the statutory provisions is provided.
The State’s 19 historic sites were acquired by legislative action between 1901 and 1986. The condition of the five sites reviewed varies from good to abysmal. Current views of the sites’ significance are mixed, and there is no consensus on how their value should be determined. The audit notes that if the five sites are retained, they will need varying capital improvements and improved exhibits, highway signs, and staff. Local communitites may be a potential source for funding assistance.
Licensing Kansas Drivers with Medical Disabilities
The Division of Vehicles is generally following its established policies and procedures for licensing drivers with medical impairments. These procedures are more stringent than those of other states contacted. Some license applicants expressed dissatisfaction with Division procedures. The Division could minimize such complaints by explaining it policies and procedures more clearly.
The center’s purchases generally complied with all purchasing and bidding requirements, but compliance problems occurred in two of the 20 purchases reviewed. It took an average of nine weeks to order equipment for the Centers of Excellence, but the centers were not significantly hampered by any delays caused by the Department of Administration in Topeka. Most concerns raised by the Centers of Excellence could be addressed within current State laws and regulations.
The State’s three major training programs are well coordinated, but the audit raises administrative concerns about each one. The Job Training Partnership Act, which primarily serves economically disadvantaged people or those who have other barriers to employment, is being administered in compliance with federal requirements. But funding inmate programs with Job Training Partnership Act funds may create a potential liability for the State if the Department of Labor disallows the expenditure of those funds for inmates who are not released within a reasonable period of time.
Regulation of Oil and Gas Wells, Part II: Enforcement of Injection Well Procedures
The Corporation Commission’s monitoring program is weakened because no one reviews reports submitted by injection well operators. Because of unclear testing guidelines, some similar wells are tested at inconsistent pressures, and some unsound wells pass the pressure tests. The audit recommends ways to strengthen the monitoring and testing program. Finally, the Environmental Protection Agency is likely to reimpose injection well testing requirements if the State imposes a testing moratorium.
Personnel Policies and Practices at Kansas State Penitentiary
The Penitentiary’s written policies and most of the 210 personnel actions reviewed complied with applicable laws, regulations, policies, and requirements. The Penitentiary failed to fully comply in several areas. Many employees surveyed said that morale was low. They cited poor communication, understaffing, and perceived favoritism in promotion and job assignments.
Most counties and larger cities reported entering into nearly 11,000 diversion agreements with adult and juvenile offenders in 1985. Those agreements most often involved charges of driving under the influence or theft. Nearly half the offenders sampled did not voluntartily comply with their diversion agreements or local records did not show that they did. The audit recommends improvements to ensure that offenders have satisfied their diversion conditions before charges against them are dismissed.
Postage Costs for State Agencies That Do Not Use Central Mail Services (100-hour audit)
Within Shawnee County, 19 agencies and divisions within agencies do not use the central mail services provided by the Department of Administration, as required. These groups pay from $26,000 to $52,000 in equipment costs. The audit recommends that each agency and division be evaluated for possible inclusion in the Central Mail Services system.
In 1985, residents in 170 adult care homes who footed their own bill paid an average of $35. 76 per day for their care, or $6 more per day than Medicaid residents. Data available for 217 homes showed that the average private-pay rate increased by 14.2 percent between 1983 and 1985; Medicaid rates increased by 13.6 percent. The audit examines private-pay rates and rate increases for different types of homes. Chain-owned homes had the highest daily rates. Homes that changed ownership or management had the largest rate increases.
The Commission on Civil Rights has made numerous improvements in its handling of cases, including increasing the productivity of its investigators and reducing the time it takes to resolve complaints. Nonetheless, the Commission can improve the complaint handling process by improving its procedures for assigning and handling cases, evaluating the role and performance of its preliminary investigation unit, and monitoring its overall caseload.
Regulation of Oil and Gas Wells, Part I: Enforcement of Well Plugging
Most complaints or violations related to abandoned, unplugged wells rather than to improperly plugged wells. Abandoned, unplugged wells present a significant potential for polluting groundwater, but current inspection procedures do not ensure that such wells are identified and plugged on a timely basis. The lack of basic, centralized information about the number and status of all wells also hampers the field staff’s ability to detect unplugged wells through inspections. The audit recommends improvements in each area.
Most of the audited localities’ expenditures for alcohol and drug abuse programs complied with State law. A few used liquor tax funds to pay administrative costs, which is not specifically allowed by law. Others funded such activities as teenage hotlines and domestic violence programs, which did not have substance abuse as their primary concern. Statutory changes made in 1986 may prohibit such expenditures in the future.
Kansas Police and Firemen’s Retirement System: Part I
Benefits available to members of the Kansas Police and Firemen’s Retirement System are more generous than the benefits available to public employees covered by KPERS, but they are similar to benefits provided to public safety personnel in other states and Kansas localities. Any change in benefits would require a change in the public policy of encouraging an experienced but relatively young public safety workforce.
Wage Rates for Construction of the Coliseum at Kansas State University
For Riley County, some of the specific hourly wage rates developed through surveys by the Department of Human Resources are significantly higher or lower than rates for surrounding and similar counties. Several rates also changed significantly from 1985 to 1986. The use of data supplied by one contractor for individual rate determinations and other weaknesses in the Department’s methodology have helped cause such variations.
Department of Transportation’s Management of Construction and Repair Projects
Less than eight percent of the 1985 projects exceeded the scheduled “working” days. The Department’s options for addressing contractors’ lack of timeliness are assessing liquidated damages and downgrading qualifications for future bids. The latter option is limited by a lack of data. On-site supervision and other quality-control checks help ensure the quality of materials and construction, but the Department should improve its supervision of projects inspected by consultants and local government.
Student Wage Expenditures at the Regents’ Institutions
Universities’ actual expenditures for student wages may differ significantly from the amount authorized by the General Fund line-item appropriation for student salaries and wages because student wages can be paid from other funds. Controls on student wage expenditures also vary between the universities and have different purposes. The audit presents options for increasing legislative control and oversight in this area.
Controls over cash are adequate, but reducing the cash on hand would minimize the potential for loss. Controls over prescription drugs need to be strengthened, but it is difficult to control illegal drugs coming from the outside. Controls to protect staff depend on the staff’s ability to monitor youths physically or electronically. Other youth centers have more staff for monitoring students.
Only one company has qualified to bid on the sheeting specified by the Department of Revenue to reflectorize license plates, but Kansas officials were unaware of a firm that successfully competed in another state. In 1986 Kansas also began packaging all bids for license plate sheeting, stickers, and decal, which effectively eliminated competition for the stickers and decals. For highway signs, the Department of Transportation has adopted a policy of using a more expensive high-intensity sheeting on certain signs and in construction work zones for visibility, durability, and safety reasons. However, that policy was based on a limited evaluation of the cost and useful life of the materials.
Using Inmate Labor for Construction and Remodeling Projects
Using inmate labor for construction and remodeling projects saved 40-45 percent of the projects’ estimated cost. Despite limitations to using inmate labor outside correctional facilities, the audit identifies several planned State projects where the use of inmate labor might be practical.
Most of the sample government buildings and private apartment complexes were at least partially accessible to physically handicapped individuals. Despite State and local enforcement efforts, many buildings did not fully comply with the State’s accessibility requirements. Private apartment buildings had the lowest level of compliance. The audit recommends changes to ensure better enforcement and compliance.
Four State agencies lease space in the Wichita State Offie Building. A large percentage of employees are dissatisfied with the building’s overcrowding, noisiness, temperature, and parking lot. In a related issue, the Department of Human Resources’ acquisition of office space in Wichita was consistent with the permitted uses of the funds spent. That acquistion consolidated most of the Department’s employment security programs in one central location in Wichita.
Economic Development in Kansas, Part I: Overview of Economic Development Activities
Direct State expenditures for economic development are generally lower than in surrounding states. Some nearby states also have dedicated specific revenue sources to economic development. Cities, counties, and local development organizations spend much more than the State on economic development. Local governments’ activities are funded through general tax revenues, industrial development taxes, and transient guest taxes.
Economic Development in Kansas, Part II: Reviewing Coordination of Economic Developments Groups in Kansas
The auditors visited seven cities across the State and talked with representatives of the major economic development groups for each city. Cooperation among the various groups is perceived to be good. Coordination is mostly informal. The State may be able to improve cooperation and coordination by establishing more contact with various regions and communities through the Department of Commerce.
The $25 per month allowance is most often adequate when the resident is severly incapacitated, has no unusually costly personal habits, or has most clothing needs provided by the facility. The allowance is less adequate for active residents. Regulatory agencies find little evidence of mishandling of resident funds. However, guardians and conservators often take a large portion of residents’ allowances for fees.
The theft of at least 1,500 items from various buildings was apparently due more to problems with the Hospital’s security procedures than its property procedures. Steps are being taken to address problems with those procedures. Several former members of the Hospital’s security force were implicated in the thefts, and the Shawnee County District Attorney has taken actions against these individuals.
Improving Collections on Closed Sales Tax Accounts
Retailers who have gone out of business without remitting all the sales taxes they collected may owe the State up to $11.5 million. The Department of Revenue’s procedures for collecting these delinquent sales taxes are generally ineffective. In many instances, the Department could increase the amounts collected by more strictly enforcing current laws and regulations. To maximize collections, the audit recommends more aggresive enforcement of current State law, as well as changes in law and administrative practices.
Teacher and Administrator Salaries in Kansas School Districts
This audit provides salary figures and background data for every Kansas school district. Over the past four years, teachers’ average salaries rose 26.6 percent, a slightly higher percentage than the 25 percent increases experienced by principals and superintendents. Fiscal year 1985 average salaries were $21,121 for teachers, $33,596 for principals, and $41,839 for superintendents. The average salaries for principals and superintendents varied greatly according to the size of the district, while teacher salaries were relatively constant regardless of district enrollment.
Based upon information collected, it is estimated that there are about 2,500 tax exempt parsonages Statewide. County records indicate that most churches maintain only one parsonage, with 25 out of the 65 counties providing information maintaining two or more tax-empt parsonages. It is estimated that all of the parsonages combined represent a total valuation of nearly $10 million and property taxes of about $1.4 million.
No significant changes have been made in the transfer process since a 1980 performance audit recommended ways to improve that process. But the problem with course transfers does not appear to be a large one.