Report 2017-030 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2017-030: The State Bar of California: It Needs Additional Revisions to Its Expense Policies to Ensure That It Uses Funds Prudently (Release Date: June 2017)

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Recommendations to Bar of California, State
Number Recommendation Status
1

To better align its compensation practices with those of comparable agencies, the State Bar should update and formalize its salaries and benefits policies by continuing its negotiations with the union to transition represented employees to an eight-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek, and to implement new salary and job classifications.

2

To better align its compensation practices with those of comparable agencies, the State Bar should update and formalize its salaries and benefits policies by implementing an eight-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek, as well as new salary and job classifications, for its nonrepresented employees by July 2017.

3

To better align its compensation practices with those of comparable agencies, the State Bar should update and formalize its salaries and benefits policies by requiring a contribution rate to health care costs for nonrepresented employees that is equal to the contribution rate for represented employees by January 2018.

4

To better align its compensation practices with those of comparable agencies, the State Bar should update and formalize its salaries and benefits policies for executive employees hired on or after January 1, 2018, to require that contributions to post-retirement health care costs are at a rate equivalent to their contributions during employment at the State Bar.

5

To better align its compensation practices with those of comparable agencies, the State Bar should update and formalize its salaries and benefits policies by developing and adopting a formal policy by December 2017 to regularly compare staff compensation and benefits with those of comparable agencies.

6

To assign purchasing cards only to appropriate staff, ensure that the State Bar's records of employees' credit limits reflect those established with the bank, and to verify that staff use purchasing cards only for allowable and necessary expenses, the State Bar should immediately develop a policy that requires justification of the business needs for employees to receive purchasing cards, and use this policy to limit the number of staff issued a purchasing card.

7

To assign purchasing cards only to appropriate staff, ensure that the State Bar's records of employees' credit limits reflect those established with the bank, and to verify that staff use purchasing cards only for allowable and necessary expenses, the State Bar should immediately restrict the use of purchasing cards to its original purpose, which was for low-dollar and frequently occurring purchases. For purchases above $5,000, the State Bar should require the vendor to bill for payment.

8

To demonstrate its commitment to the board's prohibition of all State Bar spending on alcohol, the State Bar should immediately update its procurement manual to reflect this prohibition.

9

To ensure that its costs are reasonable and appropriate, the State Bar should update its meal and catering policy to align with the meal policy of the State's Executive Branch and should require individuals attending committee meetings for the State Bar to comply with standard meal per diem rates.

10

To make certain that the costs for sections events are reasonable and prudent, the State Bar should require that the sections follow that State Bar's meal per diem and lodging rates, and require the sections to limit expenses for events to only those activities that are reasonable and necessary. For off-site events, the State Bar should require the sections to follow the State Bar's existing policy of providing written justification of a significant business need to hold the event off-site and obtain approval from the executive director or chief operating officer.

11

To ensure that its lobbying expenses are reasonable and cover only allowable activities, the State Bar should revise the terms of its pending lobbying contract to require that the lobbyists provide sufficiently detailed invoices that support the amounts they bill for their services.

12

To ensure that it contracts only for appropriate and necessary services from outside law firms at a prudent rate, the State Bar should put its informal practice into a written policy regarding its assessment of the need for outside counsel, including whether the State Bar's attorneys can provide the specified legal services.

13

To ensure that it contracts only for appropriate and necessary services from outside law firms at a prudent rate, the State Bar should put its informal practice into a written policy regarding its evaluation of the State Bar's past experiences with the law firms being considered.

14

To ensure that it contracts only for appropriate and necessary services from outside law firms at a prudent rate, the State Bar should put its informal practice into a written policy regarding it process to select the outside legal firms, including documentation of proposals from other prospective law firms and the costs it considers reasonable for the legal services.

15

To reduce its reliance on outside legal counsel, the State Bar should continue its efforts to hire staff to fill its remaining vacant attorney positions.

16

To increase transparency, the State Bar should disclose annually to the board a list of all contracts with outside law firms—including a description of the services provided, the need for such contracts, and the value and length of the contracts.

17

To better measure how well its attorney discipline program is meeting the State Bar's core mission to protect the public from attorney misconduct, the State Bar should, by December 2017, identify key goals and metrics for the attorney discipline system.



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