Audit of Pennsylvania Game Commission will likely look at vehicle costs
Since we learned a month or so ago that state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s office will audit the Pennsylvania Game Commission in early 2017, details have been sparse about what auditors will be looking for.
All we were told officially is that it’s being done at the request of state Reps. Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, and Mike Hanna, D-Clinton. They sought to have the audit done, said Susan Woods, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General.
How long the audit takes to complete depends on a number of factors, she added, from the “cooperation of the auditee” to the scope of the work.
“We haven’t set the objectives yet. That will happen closer to the launch,” Woods said. “It was prompted by the proposal for license fee increases.”
But clues to what auditors will be looking at may be found in a story which ran Sept. 5 in the (Sunbury) Daily Item. The story reports that the state Game Commission has nearly as many vehicles, 636, as full-time employees, 760, and quotes Auditor General DePasquale saying, “It’s difficult to imagine how that’s necessary.”
And the story, by John Finnerty, which can be found at http://www.dailyitem.com/news/local_news/watchdog-checking-pa-fleet-for-bloat/article_aa77618d-c8a7-50bc-b97a-b14df4b88122.html, notes that an analysis by the state’s Legislative Budget and Finance Committee two years ago found that the Game Commission spent $1,600, on average, for maintenance for each vehicle in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
At this writing, the hunting license increase bill before the state House, which already has been passed by the Senate, has not moved and with just a few days left in the Legislative session, likely won’t. One big reason, lawmakers have told us, is the pending audit.
In a brief prepared statement, Game Commission Executive Director Matt Hough said, “We welcome this opportunity to demonstrate the extent to which the agency maximizes it’s resources for the benefit of wildlife and our license buyers.” Hough has known about the impending audit for months; he was informed of the examination of the agency’s financial accounts when he received a copy of a letter sent last May by Auditor General DePasquale to Reps. Dermody and Hanna.
Pennsylvania Outdoor News readers often have complained about what they believe to be the Game Commission’s excessive vehicle costs stemming from the many big, black SUVs that officers drive. It’s interesting that those vehicles likely will be investigated by the audit.