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- City of Adelanto
- Orange County Sheriff’s Department
- County of Yolo, Probation Department
February 8, 2019
California State Auditor
621 Capitol Mall
Sacramento, California 95814
Re: City of Adelanto’s Response to California State Auditor’s Draft Report Entitled “City and County Contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: California Local Governments Must Improve Oversight to Address Health and Safety Concerns and Cost Overruns”
Dear Ms. Howle:
This letter serves as the City of Adelanto’s (the “City”) formal response to your letter dated February 4, 2019 concerning the California State Auditor’s draft report entitled “City and County Contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: California Local Governments Must Improve Oversight to Address Health and Safety Concerns and Cost Overruns” (the “Report”). We appreciate the opportunity to review and comment on the Report.
The City takes the findings contained in the Report seriously and appreciates the recommendations pertaining to the City’s implementation of oversight policies and practices for private operators. The City, however, disagrees with certain claims made in the Report.
The Report provides that the City has failed to ensure that its private operators fulfill the City’s obligations under the ICE contract. As stated in the Report, the City subcontracts with the GEO Group, Inc. (“GEO”), which manages and operates the Adelanto Detention Facility to perform the City’s obligations under the ICE contract. Pursuant to the City’s detention subcontract with GEO, GEO assumed the City’s contractual duties of housing detainees in accordance with ICE’s performance-based national detention standards when it subcontracted with the City, and agreed to indemnify and hold the City harmless for claims arising out of the detention subcontract by agreeing to be responsible for costs arising from litigation related to the management and operation of the facility.
Referring to the California State Contracting Manual’s (“State Contracting Manual”) policies, procedures, and guidelines, the Report also indicates that the City does not perform contract management tasks that would help ensure that the private operator fulfills the ICE contract. There is, however, no contractual or statutory requirement that the City comply with the standards under the State Contracting Manual. In fact, the Report notes that the City could use the State Contracting Manual as best practices to promote sound business decisions and practices when contracting for services, though it is not required to do so.
The Report further states that the City did not review federal inspection reports pertaining to their respective detention facilities to ensure that its subcontractor prepared quality control plans and other documentation required by the City’s contract with ICE, such as complaint notifications and incident reports. As mentioned in the Report, the detention subcontract includes a provision that allows the City to inspect the detention facility and documents under the agreement; however, the City is not mandated to do so.
Finally, the Report claims that the City has failed to ensure that its private operator houses detainees in accordance with detention standards required by the ICE contract. As provided in the Report, according to the detention subcontract, the private operator assumed full responsibility for meeting detention standards when it subcontracted with the City, including the development of a quality control plan on behalf of the City through the detention subcontract. The Report also details an annual inspection of the Adelanto Detention Facility conducted by ICE’s private inspection contractor in October 2018, which revealed that the facility complied with detention standards.
We thank you again for providing us with the opportunity to review and comment on the Report. Moving forward, the City will be implementing the State Contract Manual as part of its contract management practices. We also note that the City is in the process of forming an oversight committee to oversee the performance of the obligations under its agreements.
CALIFORNIA STATE AUDITOR’S COMMENTS ON THE RESPONSE FROM THE CITY OF ADELANTO
To provide clarity and perspective, we are commenting on the response from Adelanto. The numbers below correspond to the numbers we have placed in the margin of its response.
Although Adelanto states that it disagrees with certain claims made in our report, it does not indicate which claims it is referring to. We conducted our audit in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards, which require us to obtain sufficient and appropriate evidence to support our conclusions and recommendations; thus we stand behind our conclusions.
Although Adelanto is not required to comply with the State Contracting Manual, by increasing its contract management efforts Adelanto could have helped to prevent, minimize, or resolve significant health and safety issues that federal inspectors identified at the Adelanto Detention Facility, as we state here.
As we state here, Adelanto’s detention subcontract with GEO allows the city to inspect the detention facility, and we believe that doing so would help the city ensure that the private operator is adequately performing its contract responsibilities.
Adelanto focuses on results from the October 2018 Nakamoto inspection; however, as we state here, it was not aware of any of the federal inspection reports discussed in our report, including the Inspector General’s report that cited serious health and safety issues at the Adelanto Detention Facility. In addition, as we noted here, in a separate report the Inspector General found that inspections performed by Nakamoto were not consistently thorough. Thus, we believe that additional scrutiny from the city could help ensure that its private operator promptly corrects deficiencies.
February 8, 2019
Ms. Elaine M. Howle, CPA
California State Auditor
621 Capitol Mall, Suite 1200
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: Draft Report titled “City and County Contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: California Local Governments Must Improve Oversight to Address Health and Safety Concerns and Cost Overruns”
Dear Ms. Howle:
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is in receipt of the above-referenced draft report. We appreciate the opportunity to review and provide a response.
Prior to engaging in this contract, a thorough analysis was performed in order to determine if the necessary Immigration Custom and Enforcement (ICE) program requirements and the related costs were agreed upon by both parties. There were several meetings which led to the final negotiations.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) does not agree with the statements related to “Orange County did not consistently monitor detainee costs during the audit period.” OCSD monitors the costs associated with inmates and detainees as the cost of housing an ICE detainee is the same as housing an inmate. The contracted per-diem rate of $118.00 covers all of the direct cost and the majority of indirect costs. The indirect costs associated with housing an inmate or an ICE detainee would be incurred regardless of whether an ICE detainee is housed in one of our facilities. Therefore, County funds are not spent on housing ICE detainees.
OCSD tracks inmate and detainee costs via each jail facility based on a unit number. Within each unit number we also track the costs at the object level. Therefore the housing of the inmate or detainee is tracked the same. The only difference would be the various requirements for programming and staffing which is fully covered in our direct costs. There is no need to track detainee expenses separately and it would be very labor intensive to do so. Notably, the draft report does not recommend that we track these expenses separately. The Federal Detainee Program cost was built based on the requirements specific to the ICE Program. The cost study captured operations staffing and all relative indirect costs. Detail work was performed to ensure all costs were included. Any shared costs (e.g. Services and Supplies) between the ICE program and county inmates are prorated based on an appropriate factor as these costs are the same for a detainee and an inmate.
We are also concerned about the purpose of the draft report’s comments regarding some inspection and monitoring reports identifying issues with conditions at the jail facilities. The draft report states that OCSD documented “some” corrective actions, implying that OCSD has not fully addressed these issues. We dispute that implication. These issues were fully addressed, and we question why these comments were included in the draft report as they do not accurately reflect the conditions at the jail facilities and appear to be outside the scope of the audit.
With respect to the Recommendations stated in the draft report, OCSD’s responses are as follows:
- Renegotiate its contract per-diem rate with ICE as soon as possible, and at least before renewing the contract in 2020, to an amount that covers all of the County’s allowable costs for housing ICE detainees.
We concur; we are in the process of conducting an updated cost study and based on the findings we will determine if an updated per-diem rate is needed.
- If the county continues contracting with ICE after 2020, annually analyze the cost of housing detainees compared with the payments it receives from ICE for doing so and if necessary renegotiate its contract to ensure contract revenues at least meet the county’s cost.
We concur; we will analyze the cost of housing ICE detainees to ensure revenues received continue to cover costs.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is committed to providing excellent housing and care of inmates and detainees. We take pride in our work and thoroughly analyze our contracts prior to negotiations to ensure the best interests of the department as well as the citizens of Orange County are met. Thank you for your consideration of our response.
CALIFORNIA STATE AUDITOR’S COMMENTS ON THE RESPONSE FROM THE ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT
To provide clarity and perspective, we are commenting on the response from Orange County. The numbers below correspond to the numbers we have placed in its response.
We disagree that Orange County has consistently monitored costs associated with detainees. As we state here, Orange County only performed two detainee cost studies, one in fiscal year 2010–11 and the other in fiscal year 2017-18. By the time of the second analysis, annual detainee costs exceeded the per-diem rate by $1.7 million.
Orange County’s assertion that indirect costs would be incurred regardless of whether an ICE detainee is housed in one of its facilities misses the point. As we explain here, those indirect costs could have been paid for by ICE rather than the county.
During our quality control process we replaced the word “commingled” with “deposited”. The point we are making, as we explain here., is that Orange County did not distinguish spending of ICE revenue from spending of other revenues. As a result, it did not specifically track whether it used payments from ICE to fund programs that detainees participate in or to fund other facility operations. This also explains why Orange County could not identify which revenue sources it used to pay costs in excess of ICE payments.
We do not take issue with Orange County’s approach for identifying detainee costs. However, as we note here, Orange County did not consistently monitor detainee costs. We recommend here, that Orange County ensure that it does not unnecessarily spend county funds to house ICE detainees by annually analyzing the actual cost of housing detainees compared with the payments it receives from ICE for doing so. If necessary, it should renegotiate its contract to ensure that ICE pays for all of the county’s costs for housing detainees.
During our quality control process we removed the word “some”.
The results of inspections of Orange County’s Theo Lacy Facility are not outside the scope of our audit. As we describe in Table A of the Scope and Methodology section of our report, the audit objectives focused on how detainees are housed, what programs are available to them, and whether facilities are overcrowded. We addressed these objectives in part by reviewing inspection reports for the detention facilities. Furthermore, the 2017 federal inspection of Orange County’s Theo Lacy Facility was specifically mentioned in the Audit Committee meeting when the audit was approved.
We look forward to reviewing Orange County’s 60-day response to our audit report, which should include documentation demonstrating that it included all allowable direct and indirect costs in its updated cost study.
February 8, 2019
Elaine M. Howle
California State Auditor
621 Capitol Mall, Suite 1200
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Ms. Howle,
I have reviewed the draft copy of the California State Auditor report, which was the result of the audit requested by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, and offer the following response;
We would like to clarify the nature of our agreement with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, given the title of the report. The title of the report is, “City and County Contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: California Local Governments Must Improve Oversight to Address Health and Safety Concerns and Cost Overruns.” Yolo County does not have a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. Yolo County does, however, receive a grant award from the Office of Refugee Resettlement to provide secure placement beds. As referenced on page one of the report, the Office of Refugee Resettlement is a program of the Administration for Children and Families, an office within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Page two of the report provides an overview of recent “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which resulted in family separation. When the federal government took custody of parents, the children effectively became “unaccompanied.” To date, Yolo has not received any youth separated from their family as a result of “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. Rather, the youth placed in Yolo County were unaccompanied at the time they entered the United States.
The California State Auditor’s final report yielded a recommendation for Yolo County to identify all allowable costs and include them in its future budget requests to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). As we shared throughout the audit process, Yolo County was previously informed by the ORR designee that care provider budgets were held to a $3-million-dollar capped grant award. Through additional negotiations with ORR, Yolo County was informed all identified costs incurred by the program could be claimed in the program budget; therefore, Yolo County requested and received a mid-year supplemental grant award for the 2018/2019 grant year that increased our budget cap to ensure program costs were funded.
Yolo County recently provided a comprehensive budget for the 2019/2020 grant year that accounts for all anticipated costs in the coming year; ORR has confirmed approval of the proposed budget. We are continuing to actively evaluate the methodology of this budget, specifically in the direct and contractual costs areas, to ensure the program remains entirely federally-funded.
If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact me at (530) 406-5343.
Dan Fruchtenicht, Chief Probation Officer
Yolo County Probation Department
CALIFORNIA STATE AUDITOR’S COMMENTS ON THE RESPONSE FROM THE COUNTY OF YOLO, PROBATION DEPARTMENT
To provide clarity and perspective, we are commenting on the response from Yolo County. The numbers below correspond to the numbers we have placed in its response.
The title of our report is based on the general language of the audit request. We make it clear in the Introduction of the report and throughout the sections related to Yolo County that it has an agreement with the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
While preparing our draft report for publication, some page numbers shifted. Therefore the page numbers Yolo County cites in its response do not correspond to the page numbers in our final report.
We look forward to reviewing Yolo County’s 60-day response to our audit report, which should include documentation demonstrating its progress and methodology for ensuring that its future budget requests to the Office of Refugee Resettlement include all allowable county costs.
CALIFORNIA STATE AUDITOR’S COMMENTS ON THE RESPONSE FROM THE BOARD OF STATE AND COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS
Although Community Corrections did not provide a formal response to our report it stated in an email that it accepts the recommendation of the State Auditor and will review and make conforming changes to its regulations, as necessary.