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Audit Audit of the Department of Conservation and Recreation

This audit of DCR follows-up on a 2013 audit and found the agency is still not collecting all user fees for state land. The audit covered the period of July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017.

Binder organization: Office of the State Auditor
Date published: June 14, 2018

Executive Summary

In accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) has conducted a performance audit of the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for the period July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017. In this performance audit, we followed up on issues identified in our previous audit of DCR (No. 2012-0276-3S) to determine what measures, if any, DCR’s management had taken to address those issues. During the prior audit, which looked at DCR’s Long-Term Permits and Leases programs, OSA identified issues with DCR’s administrative process related to the establishment, billing, and collection of user fees for the long-term lease of DCR properties; the setting and implementation of related late-payment penalties; the updating of use agreements to fair rates; the physical use of DCR properties; the administration and oversight of contractual use agreements; the inspection of properties that DCR leases; and the adequacy of the insurance coverage associated with these properties.

During our current audit, we found that DCR had taken measures to fully address only one of the seven issues we identified in our prior audit (one that dealt with the timing and method of payments by DCR employees who were participating in DRC’s Employee Housing program). DCR discontinued this program in 2014. DCR has not taken measures to fully address four of the issues we had previously identified.

Below is a summary of our findings and recommendations, with links to each page listed.

Finding 1
 

DCR does not effectively collect all user fees.

Recommendations
 

  1. DCR should refer all delinquent accounts receivable that are more than 120 days overdue to an agency for collection.
  2. DCR should establish written policies and procedures for the collection and recording of its user fees and also establish monitoring controls to ensure that these policies and procedures are adhered to.

Finding 2
 

DCR has not established proper user fees for utility providers.

Recommendations
 

  1. DCR should continue developing a method to determine fair user fees that should be included in new, updated agreements for all utility providers.
  2. DCR should develop written policies, procedures, and internal controls to ensure that fair user fees are charged to, and collected from, utility providers.

Finding 3
 

DCR does not properly administer its use agreements for all properties.

Recommendations
 

  1. DCR should follow up on, and resolve, all expired use agreements.
  2. DCR should develop and follow written policies and procedures to ensure that use agreements for all of its properties are properly executed and renewed before they expire.

Finding 4
 

DCR does not perform inspections of all leased properties or ensure that all of its lessees comply with liability insurance requirements.

Recommendations
 

  1. DCR should establish and implement the necessary policies and procedures to ensure that all required certificates of insurance are on file and meet use agreement requirements.
  2. DCR should keep a certificate of insurance on file for each agreement that has a user liability insurance obligation.
  3. DCR should consider establishing a formal requirement of periodic inspections of all of its leased properties.

A PDF copy of the audit of the Department of Conservation and Recreation is available here.

Abbreviations

BGC

Boston Garden Corporation

CMR

Code of Massachusetts Regulations

DCR

Department of Conservation and Recreation

DEM

Department of Environmental Management

MDC

Metropolitan District Commission

MMARS

Massachusetts Management Accounting and Reporting System

OSA

Office of the State Auditor

OSC

Office of the State Comptroller

P&L

Long-Term Permits and Leases

TRA

TR Advisors

Contact

Phone

Fax

(617) 727-3014

Address

Massachusetts State House
Room 230
Boston, MA 02133

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