HARRISBURG, Pa. - Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he has saved taxpayers more than $750,000 by cutting his department's vehicle fleet by more than 65 percent and improving travel efficiency, which increases his annual cost-cutting savings to more than $1.2 million.
DePasquale eliminated 158 cars from the vehicle fleet since he took office in 2013, reducing the fleet from 241 vehicles to 83.
"By cutting the number of state cars by nearly two-thirds we are making the department more efficient, so that auditors can focus more resources on auditing areas that need it," DePasquale said in a news release Tuesday.
"Despite having the lowest staffing level in generations and fewer cars than ever, we are currently maintaining audit levels. We will continue to leverage improvements in technology to conduct audits that ensure state funds are spent efficiently and effectively.
"These cost-cutting measures are essential to keep our department within our strategic budget plan and offset more than $3 million in mandated operating expenses in 2014-15."
In addition to saving $750,000 from cutting the number of cars and improving travel operations, DePasquale noted that since he took office, he made other cost-cutting moves to reduce expenses by more than $564,000:
• Re-organizing the department to reduce administrative layers, allowing for more flexibility and sharing of staff and work assignments to create significant cost savings and efficiencies;
• Distributing audits electronically and developing a method to use electronic working papers to improve efficiency and make auditors more mobile;
• Divesting the department's duplicating operation and implementing a policy of using technology rather than printing is estimated to save at $164,000 per year;
• Consolidating offices to reduce the cost incurred for leased office space, resulting in recurring real estate and parking savings of $400,000.
"Every step we take to make this office more efficient is saving taxpayer money and increasing our ability to improve government accountability and transparency," he said.