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An Audit Report on the Operations of the Department of Transportation's Flight Services Section

May 2012

Report Number 12-031

Overall Conclusion

The Department of Transportation's (Department) Flight Services Section had controls in place to promote the safety and compliance of its flight and maintenance operations. Those controls were operating effectively to help ensure that assets were properly safeguarded, employee training and licensure met applicable industry standards, and flight and maintenance activities were adequately documented and supported. However, the Flight Services Section should strengthen controls over its recording and tracking of inventory and its monitoring of licensure, certifications, and currency of contract pilots.

The Flight Services Section is primarily responsible for managing its flight and maintenance operations; it relies on other Department divisions for certain administrative functions, including the processing of procurements and expenditures and the oversight of human resources functions. The Department's Flight Services Section's expenditures that auditors tested were allowable and reasonable, and the Department substantially complied with Department and state purchasing requirements. However, the Department should strengthen its controls over purchasing to help ensure that it consistently (1) performs federal suspension and debarment checks prior to issuing purchase orders and (2) posts award notices to the Electronic State Business Daily as required by Department policy and the Texas Administrative Code.

Additionally, the Department did not comply with state hiring requirements related to the public advertisement of job openings. The Department implemented a Rapid Hire Program, which allowed Department supervisors to expedite the hiring process for selected job classifications that the Department historically had difficulty filling. For positions filled using the Rapid Hire Program, the Department did not require public advertisement of job openings, which is required by Texas Government Code, Section 656.001. The Department used the Rapid Hire Program to hire all six Flight Services Section employees hired from September 1, 2008, through December 31, 2011.

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