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December 8, 2010 / jimnv

State Consultants Audit

There is an excellent article about the audit of the state consulting process here and the most recent Legislative audit report.  For the audit report, click here.

Consultants are part of the state operating budget and about 250 former state employees were identified in the report as providing consultant services for the state.  In most instances contracts to former employees were fine but there have been a handful of cases where there seem to be some problems. For example: A current state employee was also a contractor and there were some state employees working as contractors who did the work on state time or at least it appeared that way.

AB 463 was enacted in the last legislative session to stop abuses and require better reporting but it might have not worked as intended. In addition, most contracts never made it to the Interim Finance Committee for approval because the definition of consultant was so narrow that  most consultants did not fall under the reporting requirements.

There are four conditions where there must be reporting: The person is a current state employee, the person is a former employee and it’s been less than a year since they left state service, the term of the contract is more than two years or extended beyond 2 years, and the person is employed by NDOT for a federally funded project that is more than four years including extensions.

The Attorney General is being notified of some instances where there may be criminal intent. I support this action and hope any abuses are stopped. Hopefully the next legislative session will result in a law which keeps the consultant contract process transparent.


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