Several audits just released by the State Board of Accounts cite state agencies for not paying their vendor bills on time.
State auditors questioned late payment fees totaling nearly $20,000 by the Indiana Department of Education, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Logansport State Hospital.
“These penalties are an unnecessary use of public funds,” the audit read. “Payment of penalties and interest due to late payments to vendors may be the obligation of the responsible official or employee.”
The bulk of the late payment penalties paid to vendors are from fiscal year 2011 and 2012.
In a written response to the State Board of Accounts, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett said the agency is revisiting its current procedures to completely eliminate interest payments.
“The IDOE takes very seriously its responsibility to Indiana taxpayers to be stewards of the funds entrusted to the agency,” the response from Bennett read.
The Logansport State Hospital did not provide a response to the State Board of Accounts.
On Thursday, BMV spokesman Dennis Rosebrough told Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney that the late payments were a small part of the agency’s 13 million transactions a year.
Nevertheless, he said the agency is making changes to prevent future late charges.
“If there's some things we need to correct and tweak to avoid even the smallest thing like this, we want to take advantage of the fact that they've pointed this out, and we are making corrections, training and so forth in terms of processing these invoices" Rosebrough said.
Rosebrough emphasized that the BMV has made vast improvements in audit findings.
The only negative finding by the State Board of Accounts in the most recent audit was the late payment penalty.
"When we first came into office, the first audit by the State Board of Accounts had 34 major findings,” Rosebrough said. “On the whole, this audit is great news for the citizens of Indiana.”