LAO Analyst’s report: $1.3 billion state building plan lacks oversight

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The $1.3 billion first phase of a project to build and modernize 11 state office buildings lacks adequate accountability and oversight and is behind schedule, according to a report

The report, released by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office on Wednesday, identified three areas of concern. First, LAO writes the administration’s strategy “lacks basic information necessary to determine its merits, including its costs, benefits, and potential alternative approaches.” 

Second, the LAO noted the administration’s insistence on using a particular funding process that allows “the administration to establish and fund projects without legislative approval” greatly reduces legislative oversight. 

The LAO also called the construction and renovation plan “ambitious,” adding it was already behind schedule and that it is likely to become increasingly more expensive.

The LAO recommended the Legislature call for a “robust analysis” of the administration’s strategy, to closely monitor the $1.3 billion expenditure for 2016-17 and to push for further appropriations to be made through the budget process. 

“We believe these recommendations would help ensure that the state has the information it needs to move forward with the best available strategy for addressing its buildings in the Sacramento area and that any funds provided are spent with adequate legislative oversight and accountability,” wrote Helen Kerstein, an LAO analyst. 

The administration’s plan provided “badly needed” funding for the modernization effort, to maximize energy and water efficiency, to strengthen security and to make the buildings ADA compliant, said an administration spokesman. 

“We look forward to working closely with our colleagues at the LAO and within legislative leadership to make this effort a success and ensure the highest possible degree of transparency and accountability in how these projects are executed,” Brian Ferguson, a deputy director at the Department of General Services, told CalWatchdog on Thursday. 

Republished with permission by Cal Watchdog.com

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