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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 25, 2012 | By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
California's $98.5-billion bullet train project has become "increasingly risky" because of uncertainty about where the money will come from to finish even the first phase, the state auditor warned Tuesday. In the latest in a series of cautionary reports by outside agencies and groups, the report found that the California High-Speed Rail Authority has made some progress in addressing planning and fiscal concerns but still has important work to do to ensure that the project can be built as promised.
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BUSINESS
March 11, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- A Republican state senator has put on hold his request for a formal audit of the state's troubled unemployment insurance program. Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres said he took the action after meeting with representatives of the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown. "I have been assured that the EDD (Employment Development Department) has the resources to remedy the problems the people of California experienced in receiving unemployment insurance payments over the past year," Cannella said.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 18, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
The state is missing an opportunity to take action against many stores that sell cigarettes to minors, according to a state audit released Tuesday. Auditor Elaine Howle said a program run by the California Department of Public Health used a third party to do an annual retailer assessment that found 160 clerks sold tobacco to minors during the last three years. “However, because the purpose of the annual retailer assessment does not include taking enforcement action against the violating retailers, Public Health's Tobacco Control Branch does not notify these retailers or take action against those who sold tobacco to minors,” Howle wrote in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 15, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Nearly a decade after California voters approved a multibillion-dollar tax increase to improve mental health services, the state has failed to provide proper oversight of county programs funded by the measure, a state audit concluded Thursday. State Auditor Elaine Howle looked at the last six years, during which almost $7.4 billion from the Mental Health Services Act was directed to counties for mental health programs. The state Department of Mental Health and a state accountability commission "have provided little oversight of counties' implementation of MHSA programs," particularly regarding their effectiveness, Howle wrote to Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 19, 2011 | By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times
It's the kind of stuff that riles taxpayers, especially when their new governor wants them to vote to extend expiring tax increases. California State Auditor Elaine Howle reported Tuesday that investigations by her office have found that hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars were misspent last year. Among the cases she highlights is that of an incompetent prison psychiatrist who should have been quickly removed from the payroll but lingered there for three years while the state "investigated.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 5, 2011 | By Patrick McGreevy and Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday gave the state auditor broad new powers to investigate the misuse of taxpayer funds by cities and counties, signing legislation created in the wake of the financial scandal in the city of Bell. The governor also approved a bill allowing nonprofits to take over the operation of state parks that otherwise would be closed because of budget woes and a clutch of proposals intended to protect children. He vetoed a measure that would have allowed child-care workers to unionize.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 10, 2011 | By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times
Gov. Jerry Brown should consider commuting the sentences of prison inmates who are permanently incapacitated by medical conditions, according to the state auditor, who said Wednesday that releasing them could save tens of millions of dollars. The proposal by auditor Elaine Howle was one of 10 ideas offered in response to a request by Brown for ways to help trim the state's $26.6-billion budget shortfall. Howle made the recommendation a week after The Times reported that despite a change in the law allowing the release of incapacitated inmates, the process has been delayed as prison officials work out the rules for paroling prisoners.
BUSINESS
February 6, 1998 | Associated Press
The state auditor has been ordered to investigate allegations of missing funds and trust account irregularities in connection with municipal bond sales by a dozen cities in the Sierra foothills and Central Valley. The review by the California state auditor was prompted by a Dec. 12 letter from Pete Schaafsma, director of the California Debt Advisory Commission, to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. The committee supervises the state auditor's assignments.
SPORTS
May 21, 1990 | Associated Press
Thousands of dollars in public funds from Central Washington University basketball camps were improperly distributed to athletes, the state auditor found in a report released today. The state report followed an internal auditor's report last month that led to the resignation of long-time basketball Coach Dean Nicholson. That earlier CWU audit found that Nicholson made improper payments of more than $65,000 to 49 athletes over three years.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 27, 1988 | BOB WILLIAMS, Times Staff Writer
A report by state auditors has found no fault with the Palos Verdes Peninsula school district's overall management of its financial and enrollment problems, but advises school officials to take another look at its system for collecting developer fees. The report also disclosed that Supt. Jack Price used a postdated check to pay $6,727 in developer fees on a home he is building in Palos Verdes Estates.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 8, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- The California secretary of state's office and counties have wasted millions of dollars in federal funds on failed or ineffective voting systems, the state auditor found in a report released Thursday. Auditor Elaine Howle said counties have spent $22 million in federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds “replacing voting systems with new systems that counties and voters cannot fully use.” The auditor noted that $4.4 million was spent on a new statewide computerized voter registration database, known as VoteCal.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 9, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
Californians with significant developmental disabilities who are cared for at state facilities are being put at risk by outdated policies, leadership problems and poor-quality investigations of assaults and other crimes, the state auditor's office concluded Tuesday. The  audit found employees of the California Department of Developmental Services do not always provide timely notification of incidents to its Office of Protective Services, which did not routinely follow its investigative procedures on alleged resident abuse at developmental centers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 18, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
The state is missing an opportunity to take action against many stores that sell cigarettes to minors, according to a state audit released Tuesday. Auditor Elaine Howle said a program run by the California Department of Public Health used a third party to do an annual retailer assessment that found 160 clerks sold tobacco to minors during the last three years. “However, because the purpose of the annual retailer assessment does not include taking enforcement action against the violating retailers, Public Health's Tobacco Control Branch does not notify these retailers or take action against those who sold tobacco to minors,” Howle wrote in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 28, 2013 | By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
The state bullet train agency is pushing full throttle to start construction of the important first phase of the California high-speed rail system in as little as six weeks, prompting scrutiny of the state's selection of a construction company with the worst technical scores among bidders. Tutor Perini Corp. won the competition to build the first 29 miles of the high-speed rail route on a low bid of $985 million, even though its design quality, safety plan and engineering, among other factors, ranked at the bottom of five teams seeking the work.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 8, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
With the state about to tap a surplus from gun registration fees to increase enforcement efforts, a group of 31 Republican lawmakers called Monday for an audit of the account to determine whether gun owners are being overcharged. The legislators said the Dealers' Record of Sale Special Account should be looked at by the state auditor to determine whether the fee is set at a rate that only covers the state's cost to conduct the required background check of the gun purchaser. The fee was increased from $14 to $19 in 2004.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 7, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Over the last decade, millions of public dollars intended for wildlife preservation areas were spent off the books on state office needs, equipment and building construction, among other items, officials said Thursday. Last year alone, at least $1.7 million was diverted from California's Wildlife Restoration Fund to pay for office operations, routine bills and gift cards for official use, according to Mike Taugher, a spokesman for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 31, 2002 | JENIFER WARREN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The lucrative new labor pact Gov. Gray Davis signed with the state prison guards union will cost California more than half a billion dollars annually when it takes full effect, according to a critical audit released Tuesday. The report by state auditor Elaine Howle also said the Department of Corrections' failure to attract and retain employees leads to massive spending on overtime, contributing to its frequent budget deficits.
NEWS
March 1, 1987 | Associated Press
A Seismic Safety Commission official ran up a $5,426 tab using a state car to commute between Sacramento and San Francisco. Almost 300 books worth nearly $6,000 are missing from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, and a staff member says a former professor took the books and other university material. A state employee sells state-purchased postage stamps to co-workers to build up an office "social activities" fund.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 7, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
A state program leasing wildlife protection areas to farmers failed to properly spend and report at least $1.7 million in rental income as part of the normal budget process last year, according to an internal state investigation announced Thursday. The irregularities in the program run by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife follow a string of similar controversies at agencies including the Recreation and Parks Department and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection where money was stashed in off-budget accounts.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 25, 2013 | By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - The accounting scandal at the California parks department will end without a criminal investigation, law enforcement officials said this week. The decision will probably close an embarrassing episode for Gov. Jerry Brown's administration. The scandal, which cost the parks director her job, broke last year when it was revealed that her department had an undisclosed $54-million surplus even as officials were planning to close dozens of parks. A subsequent probe by the attorney general's office determined that $20.4 million of the money had been intentionally concealed by officials concerned that their department's budget would be cut if the state's number crunchers knew about the extra funds.
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