Eugene DePasquale

Report: More Mental Health Services Would Make Schools Better

Aug 27, 2018
Gerald Herbert / AP

A report on safety threats and security concerns in Pennsylvania schools concludes there is a need for better access to mental health services.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he plans to investigate if the state's child abuse hotline followed through on his office's recommendations to hire more staff. It's part of a plan announced Thursday to revisit nine previously audited state agencies.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale will begin a performance audit this month of transportation contracts and costs in the Pittsburgh Public School District.

The last audit of the district from his office was released in 2015 and did not cover transportation.

PPS has a dozen transportation contracts, something he said could be justified, but is concerning.

“One of the things we’re going to see is would it make sense to have only one vendor or potentially do it in-house,” he said. “Or to see maybe if that could be paired down.”

Keith Srakocic / AP

The mayor of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania’s auditor general held a joint press conference Thursday, arguing that legalizing the recreational use marijuana could generate more than a half-billion dollars in tax revenue each year.

“The time for Pennsylvania legislators to act is right now,” said state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. “The longer we wait to do this, and the more other states go down on this path, the more Pennsylvania will be a follower. ... The train is pulling out of the station.”

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he was "stunned" by results of his audit on the Woodland Hills School District. 

Matt Slocum / AP

The Pennsylvania Turnpike approved a 6 percent increase for toll road drivers at its bi-monthly meeting Tuesday, affecting both E-ZPass and cash-paying customers.

The most common toll for a passenger vehicle with an E-ZPass will go from $1.30 to $1.38, according to the commission. The same cash fare would rise from $2.10 to $2.25.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state Auditor General is urging Governor Tom Wolf and the General Assembly to pump more money into the commonwealth’s child welfare services.

In the wake of a report his office released on child welfare last year, DePasquale has been repeatedly calling the system “broken.”

Now, he has issued his own series of recommendations for correcting a range of issues.

90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced Friday morning that his office will review the effectiveness of hiring practices at the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC) and analyze the authority’s service. DePasquale said now is an ideal time for a performance audit.

“If we’re going to be competitive in this region economically, having a vibrant Port Authority is critical to meet those needs.”

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania’s congressional races are seeing a lot of upheaval in the wake of the state Supreme Court redrawing the map after declaring it unconstitutional.

 

The new map drastically shifts district boundaries, and renders several parts of the state much more competitive for Democrats.

 

That left a lot of state politicians feeling compelled to hastily consider—or reconsider—launching congressional bids.

 

Matt Rourke / AP

 A new court-ordered map of congressional districts in Pennsylvania is spurring more would-be candidates to consider whether — and where — to run.

Pat Sullivan / AP

Since 2016, roughly 700 backlogged rape kits have been tested in Pennsylvania. But the remaining number hovers around 1,200, with some untested kits dating back to the 1990s.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A statewide audit has found a number of school districts across Pennsylvania have employed bus drivers that should be banned from the job—and still more have drivers that aren’t properly cleared.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the problem may be a communication breakdown between school districts and the bus companies they contract with.

His office’s report found 10 bus drivers whose criminal convictions should have barred them from their jobs. One had a felony assault charge.

Matt Slocum / AP

The beleaguered Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is under review for the second time in less than two years.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

 On the heels of recent Philadelphia Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette stories on alleged sexual harassment by state lawmakers, a number of officials are calling for a change.

Matt Rourke / AP

 Pennsylvania's independently elected fiscal watchdog says taxpayer money shouldn't be used to settle sexual harassment claims against elected officials.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

In September, a report from the state auditor general’s office declared Pennsylvania’s child welfare system “broken.”

Now, lawmakers have begun considering how to improve it. 

The first committee hearing on the report focused largely on how to keep qualified case workers on the job.

On average, those employees don’t make a huge salary. The audit showed the average entry level pay is just over $30,000 per year.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said that might be why some counties see up to half of their case workers quit within in a year.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

About a hundred members of the public attended the final opportunity to weigh in on what might be included in a consultant’s recommendations for restructuring the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

The city hired Infrastructure Management Group in April to decide how to best address widespread problems at the struggling authority.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

An audit of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority shows an urgent need for immediate action on several fronts, including addressing the organization's more than $750 million in debt, crumbling infrastructure and lack of leadership. 

The report, which covers Jan. 1, 2014 to June 30, 2017, was conducted by State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. 

"I don't believe that this is rising to some level of corruption," he said. "I think this was a bad setup from the beginning that led to a path of bad results."

Jonathan Alvarsson / flickr

Pennsylvania's auditor general says a survey of nearly 1,000 school districts and municipalities finds that most do not employ a cyber security professional or consult with one.

Pennsylvania Takes Credit Ratings Hit Amid Budget Fight

Sep 20, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's credit rating took its latest hit Wednesday, another black eye in a nearly three-month budget stalemate that has pitted Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled Senate against the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

The credit rating agency Standard and Poor's lowered its rating on Pennsylvania's debt, citing the state's stubborn post-recession deficit and its history of late budgets, as well as Standard and Poor's belief that the pattern could continue.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

UPDATED: 4:18 p.m. Sept. 20, 2017*

The state Auditor General’s office has released a report that alleges a provider of abortion-alternative services misused taxpayer dollars.

Real Alternatives has been receiving state grants through the Department of Human Services for 20 years.

All of it is supposed to go to the subcontractors that actually carry out abortion alternative services.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he thinks fully legalizing medical and recreational marijuana could solve the state's growing budget problems.

Report: Pennsylvania Child Abuse Workers Swamped, Underpaid

Sep 15, 2017
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The county caseworkers who investigate child abuse in Pennsylvania are underpaid, inadequately trained, plagued by high turnover and face dangerous conditions, according to a report released Thursday that recommended changes to the system.

Allegheny County Airport Authority

The Pittsburgh International Airport is about to have a major makeover. Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis said the Pittsburgh region is "a growing, tech-focused economy" and its airport should better reflect that. The renovations are expected to cost $1.1 billion

Pennsylvania Running Out Of Options For Cash To Pay Bills

Aug 21, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Top state officials are warning that Pennsylvania's deficit-strapped government is rapidly approaching a more severe stage in its seven-week-old budget stalemate, one in which Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf may have to start deciding which bills to pay and which to postpone.

Taxes are still being collected and checks are being cut by the Pennsylvania Treasury under a nearly $32 billion budget bill that lawmakers approved June 30, the day before the current fiscal year began.

Chris Knight / AP

Pennsylvania's general fund is on track to be $1.6 billion dollars underwater by the middle of next month.

In the past, the state Treasury has extended lines of credit to help the state keep paying immediate expenses when funds bottom out.

But Treasurer Joe Torsella says that may no longer be fiscally prudent.

The cash balance would have already hit zero this month, if not for a short term, $750 million credit line from the Treasury. The state has to pay that back with interest next week. But the fund is expected to run dry yet again before the end of August.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Auditor General’s office has released a report detailing how Pennsylvania’s pension system for state employees can cut costs.

The system, known as SERS, is grappling with roughly $20 billion in unfunded liabilities, and has been making concerted efforts to streamline spending.

Since 2007, the fund has reduced the fees it pays to investment managers by more than half.

But in his report, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said there’s room to cut even more of those expenses, noting he doesn’t think SERS’s returns justify its expenditures.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The state government isn't doing enough to measure the effectiveness of its addiction treatment programs that can be helpful in the fight against the epidemic of heroin and prescription drug overdoses, auditors said Thursday.

The audit launched last year by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale produced recommendations that three state agencies — the departments of Human Services, Corrections, and Drug and Alcohol Programs — do more to assess whether their addiction treatment programs are successful in curing people. It also warns that more money is needed to fund the effort.

Daveynin / Flickr

The office of the state auditor general has released a report reviewing Penn State’s rising tuition costs, background check practices and transparency in the wake of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse conviction.

Penn State is an important asset to Pennsylvania, and in his presentation of the report, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale repeatedly stressed the necessity of keeping its reputation intact.

In order to do that, he said PSU still has to improve its background checks in the post-Sandusky era—particularly for employees who have contact with kids.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Pennsylvania's state treasurer and auditor general are warning lawmakers that the state government's worsening long-term deficit may require it to borrow money from an outside lender to prop up routine budgeted operations.

Wednesday's letter to lawmakers says the state may need to borrow as much as $3 billion while its main bank account has a negative balance for eight months between July and next April.

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