Report 2018-131 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2018-131: Alum Rock Union Elementary School District: The District and Its Board Must Improve Governance and Operations to Effectively Serve the Community (Release Date: May 2019)

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Recommendations to Alum Rock Union Elementary School District
Number Recommendation Status
1

To ensure that it selects the most qualified firms at fair and reasonable prices to perform its contracted architectural services and construction management services, the board should follow the requirements of state law and its own policies in such selections.

Fully Implemented
2

To preclude a situation where a contractor oversees its own work, the board should enact a policy by August 2019 to prohibit contracting with the same entity for construction management and program management services.

Partially Implemented
3

To strengthen its ability to oversee district expenditures, the board should require the district by August 2019 to prepare monthly summaries that report the total amounts it paid to each of its contractors, along with descriptions of the purpose of those payments, and to include the summaries with the monthly warrant lists it provides to the board.

Partially Implemented
4

To ensure proper oversight of construction costs, the district should stop using payment terms for construction management and program management services that base fees on a percentage of construction costs or bonds issued.

Fully Implemented
5

By November 2019, the district should develop contract monitoring procedures with defined staff roles and responsibilities, including retaining evidence of monitoring efforts. The district should also train its staff to follow these procedures.

Partially Implemented
6

By November 2019, the district should develop procedures specifying a designated location for staff to retain contracts and related documentation and identifying those staff who are responsible for ensuring that these documents are stored appropriately. The district should also train staff to follow these procedures.

Pending
7

By November 2019, the district should work with the county office to ensure that its new financial system includes unique identifiers for contract payment authorization documents.

Pending
8

To identify its contracted personnel's potential conflicts of interest, the district should develop and implement a process by November 2019 to assess whether contracted personnel should be classified as consultants and are therefore subject to the district's code for disclosing financial interests.

Pending
9

The district should immediately follow its conflict-of-interest code to ensure that all required individuals file Forms 700.

Pending
10

To ensure compliance with the requirements of the Brown Act for quorums, the board should declare publicly at future board meetings whether a quorum of board members is present before it takes any action.

Fully Implemented
11

To ensure compliance with government transparency laws, the board should request training in and adhere to Brown Act requirements and other state law by August 2019. It should also ensure that the district's general counsel is sufficiently knowledgeable to properly advise the board about these requirements.

Fully Implemented
12

To ensure compliance with government transparency laws in future meetings, the board should ensure that it publicly identifies all parties involved in real estate negotiations prior to entering closed sessions.

No Action Taken
13

To increase board member accountability at future meetings, the district should adhere to state law and its policies by reducing board member stipends when members fail to attend board meetings.

Fully Implemented
14

To ensure compliance with government transparency laws, the district should train staff by August 2019 on the timing requirements of the Brown Act pertaining to publicizing board meeting agendas.

Pending
16

To comply with district policy and improve transparency, the board should work with district staff to evaluate law firm proposals against criteria when it next contracts for a general counsel. Further, the board should publicly report the results of its evaluation.

Fully Implemented
17

To ensure that it provides a clear strategic direction for the district, the board should develop a vision and establish goals for the district by November 2019 and regularly monitor progress toward achieving these goals, as district policy requires.

Pending
18

To provide additional transparency and ensure that its performance is meeting the needs of the district, the board should conduct an annual self-evaluation by November 2019 and publicize the results.

Fully Implemented
19

To increase the board's accountability and ensure the prudent spending of district funds, the board should implement procedures by August 2019 requiring that its members document on their requests for reimbursement how their travel complies with district policy.

Pending
20

To improve organizational stability and increase transparency, the board should comply with district policy pertaining to other operational practices, including appointing a new board president only during its annual organizational meeting unless otherwise required to do so by policy, and limiting extensions of board meeting ending times to the single instance allowed per meeting.

Fully Implemented
21

To assess whether the superintendent's performance aligns with the board's expectations, the board should provide timely annual performance evaluations in an appropriate format. Further, the district's human resources department should maintain copies of these evaluations.

Fully Implemented
22

To demonstrate its commitment to improving its governance over the district's operations, the board should immediately direct district staff to track and prioritize the implementation of the remaining outstanding recommendations from the FCMAT audit report. The board should also direct staff to analyze the recommendations relating to its terminated contracts with Del Terra, identify those recommendations that will continue to be relevant after the appointment of a new construction manager and a new program manager, and implement policies to strengthen the district's monitoring of those contractors. The board should then monitor the status of the recommendations to ensure their implementation.

Pending
23

To ensure that the bond committee receives the assistance it requests from the district to perform its oversight duties, the board should create a policy by August 2019 requiring district staff to document the assistance they provide to the bond committee and to regularly report to the board on the nature and frequency of this assistance.

Fully Implemented
24

To reinforce the ethical principles, laws, and policies that the board must follow, the district should establish a policy by July 2019 to provide biennial training to board members on ethics, applicable government transparency, conflict-of-interest requirements, and district policies.

Pending
25

To ensure that the bond committee receives timely and accurate information from the annual audits of the district's bond funds, the district should immediately begin to monitor the progress of the audits and prioritize their completion within nine months after the end of each fiscal year.

Fully Implemented
26

To ensure that the bond committee includes representatives from all required constituencies, the district should verify and document representation of the committee members that the board appoints.

Pending
27

To fulfill requirements in state law and district policy for presenting actual cost information of bond sales, the district should ensure that the board provides this information after each future bond issuance. If the district intends to rely on its financial advisor to present this information, the district should modify its contract with the advisor to explicitly require the advisor to present this information.

Fully Implemented
28

To ensure that district staff have appropriate guidance when awarding contracts under emergency conditions, the district should create and implement by November 2019 policies and procedures describing the protocol for awarding emergency contracts, including the use of the district's standard contracting forms. The district should also train staff to follow these policies and procedures.

Partially Implemented
29

To reinforce the governance standards that district policy requires board members to adhere to, the board should develop a code of conduct for board members to follow and adopt it at a public meeting by July 2019. The board should review and update this code of conduct each year as needed to reaffirm its commitment to the district's governance standards.

Fully Implemented
Recommendations to Legislature
Number Recommendation Status
15

To ensure that school district boards are knowledgeable about the ethical principles and laws that public officials must follow, the Legislature should amend state law to require members of school district boards who are compensated for their services to receive ethics training once every two years.

No Action Taken


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