SUMMARY OF: A Special Report on the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and Department of Administration, Alaska land mobile radio project, September 21, 2005.

Purpose of the Report

In accordance with Title 24 of the Alaska Statutes and a special request by the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, we conducted a performance audit of the implementation of the Alaska land mobile radio (ALMR) project. Our review primarily involved the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) and the Department of Administration (DOA).

Report Conclusions

We were directed to review and assess various issues related to the implementation of the ALMR project. ALMR is a joint project among federal, state, and local governments. For its part, the State has not effectively or consistently managed the ALMR project. The State’s uncoordinated and inconsistent management of the project has contributed to the following deficiencies:

  • Estimates of project costs appear unsupported and based on funding
  • Loan proceeds were inappropriately used to finance purchases made by DOA
  • Some costs and contracts were not consistent with funding conditions or the procurement code
  • Operating site information is incomplete
  • DOA did not specifically identify and allocate expenditures on a site-by-site basis
  • There is insufficient data to estimate annual operating costs of the project
  • There has been inadequate outreach and recruit of potential ALMR users
  • The scope of the project was changed without approval from the ALMR Executive Council

In recent months, DMVA has made significant effort to improve the State’s oversight and control of the project. While we recognize this, we still believe there are important improvements to be made in the way the State carries out its share of responsibilities.

Findings and Recommendations

  1. The ALMR project manager should take steps to develop a more comprehensive, better supported cost estimate for the project.The project manager should develop a comprehensive cost estimate using actual historical expenditure information now available. This information can then be used to estimate the costs of the approximately 51 remaining sites. It is also necessary to develop a better estimate of radio costs.
  2. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) project and administrative support managers should continue making improvements in the oversight of the ALMR project.In August 2004, responsibility for the project was transferred to DMVA from the Department of Administration (DOA). In March 2005, DMVA appointed a new project manager to oversee the ALMR project. Many of our findings stem from actions or inactions of the prior DOA project managers.We identified a wide range of deficiencies, such as: (1) unallowable expenditures paid with grant funds, (2) lack of project documentation, (3) incomplete and inaccurate cost information for both individual sites and the project as a whole, and (4) changes to the project scope done without approval by the ALMR Executive Council.
  3. The director of DOA’s Enterprise Technology Services should ensure that site records are current and complete.
  4. The director of DOA’s Enterprise Technology Services should establish a tracking method to ensure all costs associated with operations and maintenance of the ALMR system are identified and recorded appropriately.