Iowa's state auditor is cracking down on a local correctional fleet, suggesting its managers reduce the number of vehicles and refrain from allowing a non-profit from using them.
The review by the Auditor of State office targeted the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and its fleet of 39 vehicles used to transport offenders and ferry employees to training events.
Employees of the Community Corrections Improvement Association (CCIA), a non-profit created to support the District's operations, are allowed to use District vehicles at no cost.
In June 2012, the District took 15 of 39 vehicles out of service as a cost-saving measure, but kept ownership of the unused vehicles. "Because the 15 vehicles are not being driven, it appears the District does not need these 15 vehicles to conduct District operations," auditors wrote.
Auditors also determined the District is paying for insurance coverage for 15 AmericCorps and CCIA employees, and CCIA does not reimburse or cover fuel or maintenance expenses for using the District's vehicles. Auditors said there are no questionable costs regarding insurance because premiums are determined by vehicles rather than drivers. However, auditors wrote, "it appears the District maintains more vehicles than would otherwise be necessary because CCIA uses some of the vehicles."
Additionally, the District and the CCIA established an unexplained lease agreement where the CCIA purchased four Dodge Chargers for the District to lease, adding in interest payments totaling $13,986. Although the lease agreement did not specify an interest rate or mention the CCIA charging interest, the District ended up paying $97,470 for the vehicles, which cost $83,484.
The review was requested by the state Department of Corrections to examine the relationship between the District and the non-profit. To view a PDF of the full audit, visit the Iowa State Auditor's website.