AT A GLANCE
Key EMSA audit findings
State auditors' key findings, recommendations to EMSA in performance audit report released Wednesday:
• Board of trustees reviews budgets in general rather than individual expenditures and has no cost threshold by which more expensive items must be approved.
• Questionable employee purchasing/reimbursement policy, including use of personal rewards cards, travel expenses paid in advance, and sizable bills for meals, valet parking and room service.
• Questionable purchases by authority for retirement and anniversary parties, floral arrangements and Oklahoma City apartment.
• Questionable purchases by EMSA's chief executive officer, Stephen Williamson, including room service, spa treatment and satellite radio subscriptions.
• Perceived conflicts of interest between EMSA and service contractors, sometimes without board approval and in violation of authority's code of conduct.
• A third of board meetings canceled since December 2006 because of a lack of quorum or scheduling conflict.
• Lack of careful selection, orientation and training of board members.
• Inherent difficulties with utility program address data, leading to billing errors and misleading language in account statements.
Major changes already instigated by EMSA since audit began:
• Installed a per diem limit for travel which matches federal standards.
• Did not renew Oklahoma City apartment lease.
• New $400 limit on employee award gifts and a limit on related celebrations to only that of cake and punch.
• Board commitment to greater participation at meetings.
Key audit recommendations
• Realign expenditure expectations.
• Review all CEO expenditures and establish a written policy.
• Enhance expenditure transparency, such as joining state's P-card program.
• Seek legal counsel regarding certain expenditure practices.
• Develop more committees to address specific issues.
• Enhance financial oversight by reviewing single-item purchases over a certain cost threshold.
• Formalize a policy whereby board approves purchases over $12,000.
• Adopt a policy for formal evaluation of CEO.
• Improve address data system, enhance patient outreach efforts, and automate discounts under subscriber discount plans.
• Create and implement a policy requiring all trustees, officers and employees to formally disclose relationships that could influence business decisions.
• Require management to routinely inform board of costs of with outside organizations.
• Seek legal counsel regarding whether EMSA's support of American Ambulance Association activities is permissible under the state constitution and review with legal counsel future sponsorships.