Report I2011-0837 Summary - October 2013

California Department of Veterans Affairs:

Wastefulness, Failure to Comply With State Contracting Requirements, and Inexcusable Neglect of Duty

HIGHLIGHTS

Our investigation at a veterans home operated by the California Department of Veterans Affairs (Veterans Affairs) substantiated the following:

  • An administrator entered into a contract for the construction and operation of an adventure park on the grounds of the home that did not comply with state contracting requirements related to the leasing of state property.
  • It cost the State $228,612 to terminate the contract for the adventure park after Veterans Affairs' top management learned about it and halted construction.
  • The same administrator needlessly paid $424,307 for a vendor to operate a cafe and a tavern at the home, in violation of several contracting requirements related to leasing, when they could have been operated at almost no cost.
  • The administrator's former supervisor neglected his duty to oversee the administrator's activities.

RESULTS IN BRIEF

The administrator of a veterans home operated by the California Department of Veterans Affairs (Veterans Affairs) unwisely entered into two contracts on behalf of the home that wasted $652,919 in state-managed funds and did not comply with state contracting requirements. Specifically, the administrator entered into a contract for the construction and operation of an adventure park on the grounds of the home that did not comply with state contracting requirements related to the leasing of state property and cost the State $228,612 to terminate after Veterans Affairs' top management learned about it and halted construction. The administrator also entered into a contract for the operation of a cafe and a tavern at the home, which did not comply with state contracting requirements related to leasing state property and needlessly cost $424,307 over a nearly two-year period, even though the cafe and tavern could have been operated by another entity at little or no cost to the home. The contracts were a product of the administrator neglecting her duty to evaluate whether the contracts complied with state contracting requirements, constituted a prudent use of the home's resources, and served the best interests of the residents of the home. The contracts also were a product of the administrator's former supervisor, a member of Veterans Affairs' executive staff (executive), neglecting his duty to monitor the facilities of the home and oversee the administrator's activities.1


1 The executive retired from Veterans Affairs in June 2011.


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