Update of the
PRELIMINARY PERFORMANCE REVIEW OF THE
Capitol Building Commission
There are Inadequate Controls in
Place to Effectively Manage the Plan
Review Function of the CBC
The Capitol Building Commission
Needs to Improve Documentation of its
The Legislative Auditor issued a preliminary performance review in 1998 which stated that the Capitol Building Commission (CBC) fulfilled a necessary function, had reviewed a large number of Capitol Complex projects between 1990-1998, was cost effective, and was similar to review functions in other states.
The CBC was created in 1976, terminated in 1986, and reestablished in 1990. The CBC's function is to ensure that work performed within the Capitol Complex does not have detrimental effects on its appearance. The occurrence of negative physical changes to the Capitol Complex that are substantial or permanent, could be costly to restore, or costly with respect to the loss of historical and structural integrity.
The 1998 review stated that sometimes projects in the Capitol Complex are implemented without CBC approval. The WV Code §4-8-1 gives the CBC authority to review and approve or reject all plans that involve substantial physical changes in the Capitol Complex. Furthermore, the Commission's approval is mandatory before any contract can be let for work, or before any work can be done if the work is not under a contract.
The Deputy Director of General Services within the Department of Administration stated that there are no established procedures for a formal permitting process to allow all building alterations to be reviewed. In addition, agencies often contract with private vendors without advising either the Capitol Building Commission or General Services.
One cause of lack of procedure is that some agencies do not know that projects requiringmajor changes to the Capitol Complex require Commission approval. Another procedural problem is that it is not clear what types of projects are required to be reviewed by the CBC. The Commission's statute and rules do not provide specific examples of what type of work is required to be reviewed.
The 1998 review also dealt with the need to inform all agencies and buildings in the Capitol Complex at least annually of their statutory requirement to submit projects to the CBC before work is started. The Legislative Auditor found that the minutes of the CBC did not satisfactorily maintain the final actions of the CBC. The Commmission did not maintain a journal and therefore did not provide the public or the Legislature with adequate information on the final actions taken. The lack of this information detracted from the accountability of the Commission.
Since the 1998 review, four people have functioned as CBC Chairman. The most recent Chairman of the Capitol Building Commission was not aware of the Legislative Auditor's 1998 report. Upon being informed of the report, the Chairman and her staff made immediate plans to comply with the recommendations contained in the report.
Issue 2: There are Inadequate Controls in Place to Effectively Manage the Plan Review Function of the CBC.
The Capitol Building Commission should inform State agencies at least annually of their statutory responsibility to submit projects to the CBC before work is started.
Level of Compliance: Non-Compliance
The Legislative Auditor was unable to find any verification that the Capitol Building Commission had attempted to act on this recommendation. During this period of time, projects took place which did not receive any review by the CBC.
One example was the project to replace a slate roof on Holly Grove. This was 11 months after the Legislative Auditor's review. Correspondence indicates that there was considerable confusion on the part of Holly Grove about the procedure to obtain approval from the CBC for this project.
As a result of the Legislative Auditor's request for information regarding actions taken by the Commission, the current CBC Chairman reviewed the recommendations made in 1998 and stated:
These issues have been put on the agenda to be discussed at our next Capitol Building Commission meeting. Following that meeting, a letter will be drafted notifying the Capitol Complex "family" of the mandatory requirement to submit plans for approval to the Commission. We will also adopt a policy of notifying the Capitol Complex "family" of these requirements annually.
The General Services Division should make it standard procedure to inform all private vendors of their statutory responsibilty to submit project plans to the CBC. General Services should also inform the CBC of any work being done by outside contractors.
Level of Compliance: Planned Compliance
The Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Administration is the only ex-officio member of the Capitol Building Commission. This recommendation is directed to General Services (a division under the Department of Administration), given that the Capitol Building Commission cannot direct the actions of General Services.
Following the 1998 report, the Capitol Building Commission decided that the Secretary of the Department of Administration would inform the Director of Purchasing that the Commission must approve all plans for renovation before the work begins in order to ensure that the CBC is informed, and approves all renovation within the Capitol Complex. The Director of Purchasing confirmed that he was verbally notified of this decision.
Upon review of the 1998 report, the current Chairman of the Capitol Building Commission stated:
Following our April 30,
2001 meeting General Services Division will be notified by letter...
that they make it standard procedure to inform all private vendors of their
statutory responsibility to submit project plans to the CBC. They will
also be asked to comply with the request that they inform the CBC of any
work being done by outside contractors. Again, our policy will be to
annually notify General Services of these requirements. (Emphasis added.)
However, neither the 1998 action of the CBC, nor the current plan would be completely effective, in that both the judicial (Supreme Court) and the legislative branches ( House and Senate) are exempt from the Department of Administration's purchasing procedures. As the Deputy Director of General Services noted, General Services is not always advised of projects and the correct procedures are often ignored.
Either the statute governing the Capitol Building Commission should be amended or the Capitol Building Commission should adopt new legislative rules to use clear definitions of important terms, as well as specific examples that illustrate the types of projects to be reviewed.
of Compliance: Non-Compliance
The agency has not proposed amended statutory language. The Secretary of State indicates that no changes have been submitted regarding the procedural rules of the Capitol Building Commission, and no new rules have been promulgated. The existing rules were in effect at the time of the 1998 review.
The Capitol Building Commission adopted a policy in May 1998 investing the Chairman with the authority to make a pre-determination of whether a project needed to be brought before the CBC. This policy has remained in effect. In order to address the specific recommendation, the current Chairman stated that:
The Capitol Building Commission will address in our CBC meeting on April 30, 2001 Recommendation No. 4 regarding the need to provide clear definitions of important terms, as well as specific examples that illustrate the types of projects to be reviewed. A clearer definition of the types of changes that should be reviewed by the CBC and modifications in the rules will be discussed. Information regarding types of projects to be reviewed will be included in the letters which will be sent to the Capitol Complex "family" notifying them of the mandatory requirement to submit plans for approval to the Commission.
3: The Capitol Building Commission Needs to Improve Documentation of its
The Capitol Building Commission should maintain a separate journal of its actions, or improve the documentation of the minutes to clearly indicate relevant dates and other facts of the Commission's final actions.
Level of Compliance: In Compliance
Although the Capitol Building
Commission did not specifically comply with the Legislative Auditor's recommendations
for journal content, it did establish a "Journal of Projects." The journal
contained: 1) The name of the project, or request; 2) The date of decision;
3) Letter sent. This journal contained approximately 41 entries regarding
22 projects dated through 12/11/00. The original review of the Legislative
Auditor contained a list of six important facts shown below which should
be documented in the journal.
The Capitol Building Commission should inform State agencies of its approval or rejection of projects in writing as required by law.
Level of Compliance: In Compliance
Following the 1998 review
of the Capitol Building Commission, the CBC began to issue letters stating
its approval or rejection of projects presented to the Commission. However,
of 22 projects considered by the Commission, only four letters were sent
because new personnel were not informed of the procedure to be followed.
The current Commission Chairman stated " In the future [this] procedure
will be carried out. Letters detailing decisions made in the most recent
CBC meeting of March 26, 2001 have already been mailed."
The Capitol Building Commission
is attempting to comply with the Legislative Auditor's 1998 recommendations.
However, the transition from the former Chairman to the present Chairman
has revealed the problem of inconsistent functioning. The CBC should implement
a procedure to ensure that new staff are always provided basic information
concerning the Commission. Materials regarding past and pending actions
should be included. Such a procedure would assist in maintaining the work
of the Capitol Building Commission. Without such procedures, the operation
and effectiveness of the Commission may be affected. In addition, the present
Chairman has experienced some difficulty in establishing a quorum at CBC
meetings. This problem greatly affects the Commission's ability to review,
and act upon requests in a timely fashion.