Auditors find gaping holes in EPA IT procedures

Government auditors say the Environmental Protection Agency is losing millions of dollars by not monitoring its information technology systems.

A Sept. 14 report by the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General found that weak oversight also led to multi-year delays in installing systems.

The “EPA’s Office of Environmental Information did not sufficiently oversee [IT] projects to ensure they met planned budgets and schedules,” according to an assessment by several members of the IG’s office.

One project cost at least $3.7 million more than originally budgeted and took one year longer than planned to deploy.

Modifications to another system have increased costs by about $2.8 million and extended the target completion date by two years.

Part of the problem is that current IT policies do not require the chief information officer to review program performance, the report states. Auditors recommended revising OEI policies and demanding more documentation from IT managers.

EPA CIO Kimberly Nelson, who is still reading the report, will issue a statement by Friday, an EPA spokeswoman said.

The yearlong IG study focused on development and life cycle policies for three business cases: the Financial Replacement System, the Clean Air Markets Division Business System and the Integrated Grants Management System.

Nelson's responses to a draft of the report were included in the final version.

OEI “agrees with the goals sought in the draft audit report, and we substantially agree with the recommendations,” she wrote. “We agree additional tools for oversight are needed, that managers must take responsibility, and that the [CIO] will set the policy framework."

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