Video Transcripts

State Auditor

Elaine M. Howle, CPA- State Auditor

We make recommendations- our job as the auditor is to go out, try to find the facts. I always say to my staff speak the truth to power, but make recommendations that the legislature can consider.

As we concluded in the report, we believe that CSU failed to fully disclose the 1.5 billion dollars.

Ultimately found that the achievement gaps persist.

On average there are 2.4 million children at any particular year who are not receiving all preventative services.

1.4 million children in Medi-Cal did not receive their required lead test.

Under reporting. Even though some of the locals had identified a crime as a hate crime, it had not been reported to the Department of Justice.

These provider fraud cases can continue unnoticed for years and a single case can cost insurers millions of dollars.

Can cause Cal-vet to miss an opportunity to collect funding that could have gone back to the home to benefit the veteran residents.

Poor contract management results in more change orders. Um, which increases costs which pushes out time, time is money.

Our recommendations, as it is to any department, is really to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in government.

I can testify that this bill, as drafted and with the committees' amendments, would implement our recommendation

Senator Brian Jones: Your recommendations I believe you know from my perspective very fair. I'm hoping that we can initiate uh all of your recommendations.

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty: Your work helped guide us the last two years with our budget actions and we were successful in redirecting some of those resources to students, enrolling more Californians.

Assemblymember Mike Gipson- Assembly Insurance Committee: The people of the state of California are pissed off and so are we. These recommendations from the state auditor has done a I'm sure a forensic job look at these recommendations in a very prudent manner these recommendations should in fact be implemented at once without hesitation.

Assemblymember Mark Stone- Chair Assembly Judiciary Committee: The recommendations I think are fairly clear, they give us all places where we need to improve and be better and we (by we I mean the government) all three branches of the government.

Assemblymember Marc Levine- Assembly Higher Education Committee: Thanks for all the work that you do uh allowing us to practice our oversight role as the legislature and uh and so you do extraordinary work with a lot of professionals and your entire team does. Thank you for that.

Elaine: I've been very privileged to serve as the state auditor and work with tremendously talented staff who are really committed to what they do.


Senator John Moorlach- Vice Chair, Senate Governance and Finance Committee
Elaine Howle, CPA, State Auditor
Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris- Chair, Accounability and Administrative Review

John: Is there a better way to run some of these departments? I'm looking for solutions because this is embarrassing stuff. And it's like management failure. 0:18

Elaine: Some of the things that we've done in the past as an, as a State Auditors office in working with, you know I have worked with four or five administrations now, is briefing the agency secretaries, uh of the issues we've identified in audits, uh I've offered that to every administration, I've already met with the new administration. Um, they are very attentive in wanting to understand the issues that we've identified in the past and really wanting to know: are the agencies being responsive? Are the departments being responsive to your- your recommendations? So I think that will help. The fact that we have um examples in the report where they are immediately taking corrective action not waiting for a report to be issued, and then reacting to it. They are reacting to the feedback immediately and I believe it is only fair to give them credit for that. 1:06

Cottie: This inquiry has been going on for some time. The issues that noted in the report have been going on for some time. How can we as legislators be more effective in more quickly identifying and rectifying these types of problems whether it's you know in CalVets or in other departments? 1:23

Elaine: There's a variety of of oversight opportunities that the legislature has, certainly through the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, various policy committees, the two uh Veterans Affairs committees, uh having this joint hearing today I think and budget uh subcommittees. There can be questions asked in the past my office oftentimes would testify at budget subcommittee hearings. Um If uh the departments' budget was up, my office would be asked to present have you done audits of the Department of Veterans Affairs in the last three years, and are you feeling like the recommendations are being fully implemented or not? And in some cases if they're not, then the members would question the department. You're asking for more resources but the auditor is saying you're not even doing x, y and z that her office suggested. 2:08

Impact: Solving Problems. Effecting Change.

Senator Connie Leyva- Senate Health Committee
Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes- Chair of Committee on Human Services

Connie: So I would like to thank madam auditor and her team for another thorough audit uh a very eye opening, a very enlightening. So we know it is a fact that since 1987, lead has been known to cause reproductive damage and birth defects. Since 1992, we know that lead causes cancer and in the little example here of blood levels which is very easy for someone like me who is not a doctor to read, the very lowest lead and exposure to children and in their blood causes damaged hearing, behavioral disorders and decreased IQ level. So it is absolutely unconscionable to me that we are sitting here today in 2020 and we are trying to figure out how we can test children, and as we've heard in our most vulnerable communities. So, I appreciate all of you have said you take this very seriously, but clearly someone was not taking it very seriously for almost a decade. Uh, when we look at the auditors key findings, DHCS did not ensure that over a nine year period millions of children enrolled in Medi-Cal received all the lead tests that they should to determine whether they had um had lead poisoning and required treatment. Why? How does that happen over almost a decade? 1:25

Eloise: All of you will continue to receive your paychecks. And you'll all continue to receive your paychecks. And those children will continue to not be tested. And those children who test who would have tested positive will receive no services and those parents will think "Oh my goodness is it something that I did? I didn't do something for my child". But it's us! It's the state of ca that failed. And it is the departments that are responsible for this that are not doing what that they are supposed to do. And I-I-I I get it. You're brand new. Please understand, you're the only one that's brand new. We've lots of people that are- been working on this who have been responsible for this. We request an audit and the auditor and her team are able to put these things together in a way that we can all understand. And we all knew, it was, it- we all knew there was something wrong but we had to have proof. We would never allow this to happen to our own children...never! And yet we are allowing it to happen and go unchecked until we request an audit and we have a, a such a dynamic auditor and team that they're able to put this together. We're failing our children in-in-in a criminal manner... in a criminal manner. 2:47

Financial Branch

Senator John Moorlach
Elaine M. Howle

John: These are real interesting times for our cities and our counties and our school districts. What's been the the work product that's been given for the cities? 0:14

Elaine: We make different types of recommendations to the cities with respect to um opportunities to raise revenue- areas where they can cut costs um looking for efficiencies. Helping them with just basic management practices. The staff that typically work on these audits like Mr. Tilden are fiscal experts from my office who either work on the audit that we do on an annual basis of the state's financial statements, they're CPA's or they have that type of uh background. So we think we really could provide a service to cities in CA. 0:47

John: We look at the (inaudible cause by overlap due to video transition) from the state to to provide some assistance to you and your city manager 'cause Ms. Howle is a consummate professional. You're gonna get one of the best teams coming in to your city to review a CAFR and and your balance sheet and your contracts and and I will I will tell you- I can't guarantee you- but I will tell you you're gonna get some real value added from that exercise that I would not fear it, I would embrace it. 1:15

Data Analysis

Elaine M. Howle, CPA 0:04-1:23

Elaine: Deptartment of Public Health has a major responsibility for identifying risk areas in the state of CA. There are some of you on the dais who have some graphics related to your specific districts; we did it for the chairs of each of the committees. It's available for any member uh.. if you are interested in that. We actually created uh an interactive map of California on our website so folks could go in and see: Are there children who are being tested and who have high levels of lead in my community? Are there hotspots in my community? This is something that the Department of Public Health is responsible for doing.

The department is required to have information with respect to census track on the website. And they can't argue with any of you today and say we don't have that information. We used their data. We used data from healthcare services and public health, brought it together aggregated it, did it by census tract did it by assembly and senate district. So it is possible to do that and we did that during the course of the audit. So I think the.. the um use of oversight hearings like this where members ask my office questions, ask the department questions I think will hopefully hold the State of California accountable so that we can improve uh, in this particular area and other areas that that the members of this legislature ask my office to look at.

Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes 1:24

Eloise: Th-this is criminal what we are doing to the children! And they are the most vulnerable of the children and that is what concerns me the most. When we had our meeting with the auditor and with those who had worked on this, the question we asked is how long did it take you to go through the information to be able to put it up on the website? 72 hours wasn't that it? 72 hours. They went through all of the information that was available and were able to put it up by census. The fact that you have so many people on your staff and they're not able to take care of the business that they are hired to do is of great great concern to me. 2:16