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Thursday, April 21, 2011 03:44 pm

State Police can’t keep track of their stuff

U of I credit cards out of control

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An audit of the Illinois State Police released April 7 shows problems with inventory control, information security and more, but ISP says it lacks the resources to address some problems. Meanwhile, a report on the University of Illinois released the same day shows recurring problems with oversight of credit cards issued to university employees, among other issues.

The ISP audit by Illinois Auditor General William Holland found that six out of eight equipment inventory records examined were inaccurate, with equipment sometimes being bought or sold but not recorded. That led to equipment transactions being misstated by as much as $819,499 during the two-year period ending June 30, 2010, Holland notes. The audit shows that one ISP vehicle was destroyed in an accident in 2005, but wasn’t removed from inventory records until March 2009.

ISP’s implementation of a new information system using federal funds lacked adequate project management, according to the audit. Holland’s report says the department could not provide an account of project costs, could not show the project meets required federal standards and could not verify the accuracy of 40 million records and 6.1 million mug shots entered into the new system, among other issues.

The department also lacks controls over confidential information, the audit shows. Confidential data for many ISP systems is transmitted without being encoded, the audit says, meaning it could be intercepted and used by third parties. Proper backups of confidential information were not made, Holland says, and a risk assessment had not been performed to prevent unauthorized release of confidential information.

“The transmittal of unsecured confidential information puts the information at the risk of unauthorized disclosure from malicious or inadvertent acts,” Holland says.

ISP responded in the audit report, saying it lacked the resources to remedy some problems but would work to find solutions.

On April 4, the Illinois Senate confirmed former Chicago Police officer Hiram Grau as director of ISP, replacing former interim director Jonathan Monken.

For the second year in a row, an audit of the University of Illinois, the state’s largest public university system, showed numerous problems with accounting, record keeping and more. The audit identified 43 issues at the school, 29 of which were repeated from the previous year’s audit. Illinois Times reported on the previous audit in May 2010. [See “UI audit shows holes in the hull of state’s flagship school”, May 20, 2010.]

Some of the issues relate to the 5,170 credit cards issued to staff for procurement purchases of less than $4,999. Auditors examined 40 sample transactions and found that three were for charges that were prohibited by the university. No supporting documentation could be located for a purchase totaling $3,978, and one transaction totaling $7,700 was paid in three installments, circumventing the single transaction limit of $4,999.

The audit also found that the university’s procurement system was set to automatically approve purchases, contrary to university policy requiring approval of a reviewer. Purchases that were automatically approved totaled $2,503,511 in the year ending June 30, 2010, while $7,494,829 in purchases were made and approved by the same person over the same period. Procurement card expenditures totaled $101,588,000 during that time.

The university addressed the credit card issue in the audit report, saying solutions are already being implemented.

“The university recognizes that with approximately 5,170 active procurement cards, erroneous charges can and do occur,” the UI responded. “The university employs careful oversight and review to ensure these errors are minimal, and it takes immediate action when errors are discovered.”

Other audits released April 7 include three reports on aspects of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and a report on Illinois Department of Central Management Services. To view these and other audits, visit www.auditor.illinois.gov.

Contact Patrick Yeagle at pyeagle@illinoistimes.com.
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