Eugene DePasquale

Jonathan Alvarsson / flickr

Pennsylvania's auditor general says a survey of nearly 1,000 school districts and municipalities finds that most do not employ a cyber security professional or consult with one.

Pennsylvania Takes Credit Ratings Hit Amid Budget Fight

Sep 20, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's credit rating took its latest hit Wednesday, another black eye in a nearly three-month budget stalemate that has pitted Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled Senate against the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

The credit rating agency Standard and Poor's lowered its rating on Pennsylvania's debt, citing the state's stubborn post-recession deficit and its history of late budgets, as well as Standard and Poor's belief that the pattern could continue.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

UPDATED: 4:18 p.m. Sept. 20, 2017*

The state Auditor General’s office has released a report that alleges a provider of abortion-alternative services misused taxpayer dollars.

Real Alternatives has been receiving state grants through the Department of Human Services for 20 years.

All of it is supposed to go to the subcontractors that actually carry out abortion alternative services.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he thinks fully legalizing medical and recreational marijuana could solve the state's growing budget problems.

Report: Pennsylvania Child Abuse Workers Swamped, Underpaid

Sep 15, 2017
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The county caseworkers who investigate child abuse in Pennsylvania are underpaid, inadequately trained, plagued by high turnover and face dangerous conditions, according to a report released Thursday that recommended changes to the system.

Allegheny County Airport Authority

The Pittsburgh International Airport is about to have a major makeover. Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis said the Pittsburgh region is "a growing, tech-focused economy" and its airport should better reflect that. The renovations are expected to cost $1.1 billion

Pennsylvania Running Out Of Options For Cash To Pay Bills

Aug 21, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Top state officials are warning that Pennsylvania's deficit-strapped government is rapidly approaching a more severe stage in its seven-week-old budget stalemate, one in which Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf may have to start deciding which bills to pay and which to postpone.

Taxes are still being collected and checks are being cut by the Pennsylvania Treasury under a nearly $32 billion budget bill that lawmakers approved June 30, the day before the current fiscal year began.

Chris Knight / AP

Pennsylvania's general fund is on track to be $1.6 billion dollars underwater by the middle of next month.

In the past, the state Treasury has extended lines of credit to help the state keep paying immediate expenses when funds bottom out.

But Treasurer Joe Torsella says that may no longer be fiscally prudent.

The cash balance would have already hit zero this month, if not for a short term, $750 million credit line from the Treasury. The state has to pay that back with interest next week. But the fund is expected to run dry yet again before the end of August.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Auditor General’s office has released a report detailing how Pennsylvania’s pension system for state employees can cut costs.

The system, known as SERS, is grappling with roughly $20 billion in unfunded liabilities, and has been making concerted efforts to streamline spending.

Since 2007, the fund has reduced the fees it pays to investment managers by more than half.

But in his report, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said there’s room to cut even more of those expenses, noting he doesn’t think SERS’s returns justify its expenditures.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The state government isn't doing enough to measure the effectiveness of its addiction treatment programs that can be helpful in the fight against the epidemic of heroin and prescription drug overdoses, auditors said Thursday.

The audit launched last year by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale produced recommendations that three state agencies — the departments of Human Services, Corrections, and Drug and Alcohol Programs — do more to assess whether their addiction treatment programs are successful in curing people. It also warns that more money is needed to fund the effort.

Daveynin / Flickr

The office of the state auditor general has released a report reviewing Penn State’s rising tuition costs, background check practices and transparency in the wake of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse conviction.

Penn State is an important asset to Pennsylvania, and in his presentation of the report, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale repeatedly stressed the necessity of keeping its reputation intact.

In order to do that, he said PSU still has to improve its background checks in the post-Sandusky era—particularly for employees who have contact with kids.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Pennsylvania's state treasurer and auditor general are warning lawmakers that the state government's worsening long-term deficit may require it to borrow money from an outside lender to prop up routine budgeted operations.

Wednesday's letter to lawmakers says the state may need to borrow as much as $3 billion while its main bank account has a negative balance for eight months between July and next April.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

After a recent audit found significant accounting, technology, and funding issues in the commonwealth’s unemployment compensation system, the Wolf administration is attempting to correct its course.

But it’s not going to be an easy—or quick—process.

Lawmakers are already expressing frustration with the amount of information they’re getting about the UC system’s financial decisions.

PA House of Representatives / YouTube

Pennsylvania  Rep. Tony DeLuca is calling on the state’s Department of Education to step in and oversee the Penn Hills School District’s finances.

Last week, the school board approved increasing property taxes for the second year in a row, just months after Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released an audit that found the district had accumulated more than $170 million dollars of debt.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

At the behest of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and top Republicans, the state Auditor General is launching a formal review of how the Democratic National Convention’s host committee spent state money.

The state gave the DNC committee a $10 million grant last summer to help fund its event, which was held in Philadelphia.

Ultimately, the committee—which is chaired by former Gov. Ed Rendell—ended up with a $4 million surplus. Among other things, that money was used to give bonuses to staff members.  

Lawmakers argue any extra money should have gone back to the state.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

report released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health Wednesday shows the backlog of untested rape kits is shrinking, but is still far from gone.

The report found there are 3,217 rape kits in the state waiting to be processed. Of those, 1,214 were more than a year old, which the state defines as backlogged.

Paolo Braluca / Flickr

In the wake of a 39 percent jump in reports to Pennsylvania’s child abuse hotline in 2015,  the Auditor General’s office is examining the safety of at-risk children by assessing the stresses on caseworkers at children and youth agencies.

“Unfortunately, our audits have increasingly found high staff turnover and heavy caseloads affecting the care that children and youth service caseworkers can provide across the commonwealth,” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said.

The review will cover 13 counties including Allegheny, Fayette and Cambria.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb on Thursday released a draft of the performance audit of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Thursday with 53 recommended changes.

The audit was concurrent with widespread customer billing and meter problems, issues of lead in drinking water and inconsistent leadership.

PA Auditor General

A sixth-grader from Lycoming County has collected 750 signatures on a petition calling for all of the unprocessed rape kits in the state to be tested and the state’s auditor general wants to stand behind her effort.

A 2015 Pennsylvania law required all new rape kits collected by police to be tested within six months. But many of the older DNA specimens are still sitting on shelves. In fact, End The Backlog estimates 3,000 rape kits are sitting untested in Pennsylvania. Some of them have been on shelves for more than a decade.

Virginia State Parks / Flickr

 

Pennsylvania counties and municipalities mishandled millions of dollars meant to offset the negative effects of the Marcellus Shale gas boom, according to a report published Tuesday by the state Auditor General.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

 

Treasurer

 

Democrat Joe Torsella will be taking over an office marred by scandal after winning the race for Pennsylvania treasurer.

Torsella, of Montgomery County, beat Republican businessman Otto Voit of Berks County in Tuesday's election.

The 53-year-old Torsella was most recently a presidential appointee to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

Four months ago, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene Depasquale released a scathing interim report on the operations of the state’s child abuse reporting hotline. 

On Wednesday, he praised recent improvements to the ChildLine but then released eight more findings and 24 new recommendations.

PA Auditor: Turnpike Finances Are Bleak

Sep 7, 2016
Doug Kerr / Flickr

Pennsylvania’s auditor general is painting a no-win picture with his most recent audit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

While Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the turnpike is doing well when it comes to controlling spending and managing its money, he said there are structural problems in place that could eventually lead to the collapse not only of the turnpike, but also of much of the state’s transportation system.

Tax Credits / Flickr

Pittsburgh’s pension funds continue to stumble and, for the second time in three years, Pennsylvania Attorney General Eugene DePasquale has launched an audit of the system.

DePasquale said Wednesday that he is not singling out Pittsburgh for additional audits.

“We think that this is one of the biggest financial challenges facing municipalities all over the state,” DePasquale said. “So we are really going to stay on top of this to make sure that cities are doing what they need to do to make sure (their pension programs) are financially in good shape.”

Dick Thomas Johnson / Flickr

  An audit of the state Department of Education has found that the process to address appeals of charter school payment is unclear, and should be reexamined.

Daveynln / Flickr

 

Pennsylvania's auditor general has announced a review of Penn State University's performance, focusing on governance, safety and tuition across its 24 campuses.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Tuesday that his audit will revisit former auditor general Jack Wagner's recommendations to the university following the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case, as well as compliance with state and federal guidelines. He says it won't rehash the university-commissioned 2012 report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is planning an audit of how money’s being managed in Pennsylvania’s two biggest employee retirement systems.

dmva.pa.gov

An audit of the commonwealth’s veteran affairs program has turned up preventable admissions delays in state homes for elderly vets.

Over nearly two years, investigators found admission to the six veterans’ homes could range anywhere from one day, to 443 days, depending on location.

The homes are located in Chester, Lackawanna, Erie, Allegheny, Philadelphia and Blair counties.

Paul Weaver / flickr

Five years ago, the Penn Hills School District was in $11 million in debt. Today, a recent audit revealed the district is $170 million in debt and is also under investigation for alleged mismanagement of money.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is a part of the team tackling 74 pages of an audit detailing the district’s spending from July 2012 through June 2015 and revealed spending habits that led to what DePasquale describes as “almost unsurmountable” debt.

Matt Rourke / AP File Photo

The state’s top fiscal watchdog says another budget impasse would lead to a “backdoor tax increase” in Pennsylvania.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Thursday that if lawmakers and the governor allow another lengthy budget stalemate to take place without “dealing” with the state’s projected structural deficit, the commonwealth will receive another credit downgrade, hiking the cost of borrowing.

Pages