Receives AOPTA Award for Six-Month Period Ended - September 30, 2000
Michael Mayhew, Deputy Auditor General for Audits, is pleased to announce that the audit team for the performance audit of the Michigan Schools for the Deaf and Blind (MSDB), Department of Education, is the winner of the Audit Operations Project Team Award (AOPTA) for the six-month period ended September 30, 2000. The audit team consisted of Mary Martin, supervisor, and team members Carol O’Callaghan and Stacie Sampson, with software assistance by Andrew Mitchell. The AOPTA was established in 1992 and is awarded every six months to recognize exceptional efforts of project teams in the Bureau of Audit Operations. MSDB and its predecessor agencies, prior to their combining in 1995, have provided important services to two select groups of Michigan citizens for more than 100 years. The services are provided to help improve the lives of these citizens, most of which are children. The audit team did a fine job of planning and conducting the audit that resulted in the exceptional audit report. The prior audits of the two predecessor agencies were made many years ago and significant changes in operations and service provision had occurred since the last audits. Thus, the audit team had little from those audits to build upon. The preliminary planning was thorough and identified the most important issues on which to focus the audit. The team performed the audit methodology in a logical and efficient manner. This occurred even though audit conditions were sometimes difficult. The audit team did a good job of complying with OAG project management standards related to the time budget, project milestones, and report processing. The due process was very smooth; MSDB agreed with all of the findings and corresponding recommendation, even though a number of them were of an important and high-impact nature. The audit report contained 10 findings, many of which had multiple parts, and 2 of the findings were classified as material. The report is a superior example of a government audit agency product that should be very useful to the Legislature, the Department of Education, and the auditee in making future decisions regarding the operations of MSDB. The findings, a number of which are creative, address issues ranging from the future operation and viability of the agency, to the effectiveness of services provided, to improvements in the providing of services. The House Fiscal Agency has contacted the OAG twice concerning this audit and was impressed and interested in the audit scope and findings. The exceptional audit was the result of a dedicated and superior effort from an audit team with limited experience. This was Mary’s first job as a supervisor and she had no prior audit experience with MSDB or the Department of Education. Stacie, who was on the team the entire audit, had been with the OAG approximately one month when assigned to the audit. Carol, who had been on one other Department of Education audit, was on the MSDB audit less than 50% of the time.
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