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OPA stands behind audit of DPW

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While the Governor's Office argues that an audit that turned up indicators of potential fraud and misuse at the Department of Public Works served to ding employees for their dedication, the OPA says the audit speaks for itself.

"DPW is claiming that they did nothing wrong, so let the audit speak for itself," asserted Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks, referring to the recent heavy equipment audit that found potential ethical violations and significant internal control lapses at DPW. The audit stemmed from an allegation that equipment was being loaned out to other companies for personal use. The allegation could not be substantiated.

"If it is going to be placed at a convenient place where the project is, then that should be documented and there should be evidence that hey this is going to be parked at this DPW employee's [property] because of...but this did not happen," she said.

DPW director Glenn Leon Guerrero however said he disagreed with 6 out of 10 of the audit's findings, adding that although free services may have been accepted from an employee in the past, it was due to the agency's lack of resources. Adelup characterized the audit as dinging employees for going above and beyond to get the job done

"He was allowing it, but that tends to show favoritism for that particular employee and to turn a blind eye, oh because he did this, let him do that, because he loaned us this equipment, we'll let him use that other equipment because he was so kind to let us use his equipment," she said.

However Leon Guerrero argues use of volunteered services was for the public's benefit. "The Department of Public Works is guilty on a lot of fronts, and most of our guilt is we don't document. And so we're going to change that. And we're also going to change some of our policies."

Meanwhile deputy public auditor Yuka Hechanova said the biggest issue was simply the lack of internal controls. However she's hopefuls DPW's new fleet management system will lead to improvements. "So now they're moving to an automated process which we hope will improve things, but again it has to be with the tone at the top, it has to be supported by an ethical environment."

Leon Guerrero has committed to requiring managers and supervisors to take ethics and fraud awareness training and has requested the OPA to conduct an annual audit. Hechanova said future review of DPW's fleet management system may be a next step.

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