The Harvey M. Rose Accountancy Corporation is pleased to present this Limited Scope Management Analysis of the Amador County General Services Agency. This special study was conducted for the 1999-00 Amador County Grand Jury under authority granted in Section 925 of the California Penal Code, and pursuant to an agreement entered into between the 1999-00 Amador County Grand Jury and the Harvey M. Rose Accountancy Corporation (HMR) on February 8, 2000.
The scope of work to be performed by HMR was defined in a proposal submitted to the Grand Jury on February 2, 2000. Based on this proposal, the objective of the special study was to “assess the management practices and structure of the agency for (its) effectiveness and to identify functions where further review by the Grand Jury is warranted.” On March 14, 2000 a Confidential Interim Report was provided to the Grand Jury which identified matters appropriate for further review by the Grand Jury based on our three day site visit to GSA on March 1 through March 3, 2000 (see Attachment 1). This report focuses on our findings and recommendations related to the GSA management structure and practices.
Included in the February 2, 2000 proposal to the Grand Jury was a detailed task plan which outlined eight primary tasks which would be performed by HMR to accomplish the project objectives. This plan included tasks to:
Each of these primary tasks were completed during the course of this special study.
An entrance conference was held with the GSA Director on March 1, 2000, and the compilation and review of documentation, and interviews, were generally conducted during the period March 1 through March 3, 2000. A draft report was produced on April 7, followed by an exit conference with the GSA Director on April 14, 2000. The final report was produced and delivered to the Grand Jury on April 17, 2000.
This special study was conducted in accordance with Government Auditing Standards, 1994 Revision by the Comptroller General of the United States, United States General Accounting Office. This publication contains standards for audits and special studies which are conducted of government organizations, programs, and activities. The standards also pertain to the auditor’s professional qualifications, the quality of audit effort, and the characteristics of professional and meaningful reports.
Description of the Amador County General Services Agency
The Amador County General Services Agency provides a wide range of services to County departments and agencies, other jurisdictions, and to the general public. In FY 1999-00, the Board of Supervisors appropriated approximately $12.8 million for these functions, which included approximately $7.5 million for the Acquisition of Buildings. Operating expenses (excluding fixed assets and the County’s indirect cost allocation), were budgeted at approximately $5.2 million, as shown below.
As shown, approximately $1.6 million of the $5.2 million operating budget was allocated for Personnel expenses for the 50.5 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions assigned to the Agency. These personnel are assigned to the various operating departments of the Agency as shown in the table, below.
An additional $1,006,182 of the $5.2 million operating budget has been allocated for the operations of the County Airport, which is managed by a contractor; and, $413,250 is allocated for contract Public Defender services purchased from a local law office. Other GSA departments with high services and supplies costs include:
Much of the cost for GSA departments is funded by other departments within the County, other jurisdictions which use GSA services, and user fees to the public. Five of the departments are operated as either Enterprise Funds or Internal Service Funds (ISF), which are terms used in governmental accounting to describe funds which support certain kinds of services. The definitions of these two fund types are provided below.
Enterprise Funds – are used to account for operations that are financed and operated in a manner similar to private business enterprises. Enterprise fund departments typically include those which offer services to the general public and charge user fees, including departments established for the operations of public hospitals, publicly-owned utilities, airports, landfill and other similar enterprises. It is generally intended that such enterprises will fully recover costs of operations, or generate a profit from the user fees they charge. In the Amador County General Services Agency, the Airport and Waste Management departments are operated as Enterprise Funds.
Internal Service Funds – are used to account for the financing of goods and services provided by one department or agency to other departments or agencies of the County, or to other governments on a cost reimbursement basis. Generally, ISF funding mechanisms are established so that departments may pool resources for similar kinds of support services. Important to ISFs are mechanisms which establish charges to user departments for the cost of services. If charge mechanisms are not appropriately designed, some departments or agencies can effectively subsidize the operations of others. This is an important consideration when allocating costs to departments which are heavily reimbursed from the federal and State governments, or receive large amounts of grant funding, or when allocating costs to other jurisdictions which use ISF services. In Amador County, the GSA Support, Motor Pool and Communications departments are operated as Internal Services Funds.
In FY 1999-2000, each of the Enterprise Fund and Internal Service Fund departments are projected to have income which equals expenses, or have small operating income balances or losses. On an overall basis, however, it is important to note that Enterprise Fund and Internal Service Fund departments may also accumulate retained earnings (profit), reserves, or fund balances which can be used to support future costs of operations. This is the case in Amador County for many of the GSA departments reviewed. For example, as of June 30, 1998, the GSA Motor Pool ISF had cash of nearly $320,000, which was entirely unrestricted. This cash provides a resource for the County to purchase new and replacement vehicles in future years. It is generated from the portion of user fees charged to departments for vehicle depreciation.
The County also maintains various other funds which are accessed by GSA to accomplish work assigned by the Board of Supervisors. For example, as of June 30, 1998, the County held approximately $7.0 million in a Capital Projects Fund for County Improvement which was entirely unrestricted. Like the residual balances available in the Enterprise Funds and Internal Service Funds, capital project fund balances are also available to the County to finance various capital improvements which will likely be managed by GSA. Before GSA can access these funds, they must be appropriated by the Board of Supervisors.
Issues Appropriate For Further Research By The Grand Jury
As discussed previously, we produced an Interim Report on March 14, 2000 which identified matters which we believed were appropriate for further research by the Grand Jury. As noted earlier, the full text of the Interim Report is provided as Attachment 1.1 The following points summarize the issues identified in that report.
We would like to thank Mr. Trevor Mottishaw and the staff of GSA for their cooperation and assistance during the course of this study. Each of the individuals we worked with during this study exhibited the highest degree of professionalism and candor throughout the project.