Staff turnover was another problem. Only one of 14 core staffers at the end of 2010 was still working there by the end of last year.
The office is looking for a new director. The interim director, Kevin Patterson, was grilled by lawmakers about the audit Tuesday and assured them a cleanup has already begun. Patterson said the office should be in much better shape by the middle of this year.
"I've been trying to bring something out of chaos," Patterson said.
Many lawmakers were sympathetic, telling Patterson the troubles were greatest under the Ritter administration and that improvements are being made.
"It's not your fault, it's not our governor's fault right now. It's just your mess to clean up," Republican Sen. Steve King told Patterson.
Democratic Sen. Lucia Guzman warned that patience is wearing thin. Hickenlooper has been in office more than two years, she pointed out, and blame can't keep flowing backward
"If I start a job, and I've been on it two years, it seems to me I should have some outcomes that give me a reason to still be there." Guzman said to Patterson.
Patterson assured lawmakers that change is happening quickly at the energy office and that they'll see better accounting and management quickly.
"We have a lot of work to do in a very short period of time," Patterson said.
Kristen Wyatt is on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/APkristenwyatt
Energy Office audit: http://bit.ly/14rT3dm