Panos Prevedouros, PHD

BY PANOS PREVEDOUROS PHD – Inspections is a very basic function of government. Inspections minimize errors and fraud.

On March 2013 Hawaii State Auditor reported on the Hawaii’s Measurement Standards Branch.

The three bullets below are highlights of the auditor’s summary. The third bullet is a true Jay Leno joke. But this one is real.

  • The Measurement Standards Branch is tasked with enforcing the U.S. standards for weights and measures. Because of budget shortfalls since FY2010, the branch experienced a significant decline in the number of inspector positions. Currently, six of the branch’s 11 positions remain vacant, and we found that the branch’s two remaining inspectors can only perform eight of the branch’s 15 key regulatory functions.
  • Inspections of measuring devices have fallen significantly. From FY2007 to FY2009, the branch inspected an average of 21% of small scales, 10% of medium scales, and 31% of gas pumps registered in the state. However, from FY2010 to FY2012, the branch inspected an average of only 2.6% of the small scales, less than 1% of medium scales, and 6.7% of the gas pumps registered in the state. Moreover, enforcement functions on the neighbor islands and packaging and labeling inspections throughout the state have ceased as of 2009.
  • Recognizing these deficiencies, the 2012 Legislature appropriated $420,000 to restore a program manager and three new inspector positions. Almost a year later, the branch has been unable to fill these positions because the acting administrator has not addressed questions raised by the department’s personnel office regarding the program manager position. According to the acting administrator, the inspector positions cannot be filled until a program manager is hired to develop a training program. As a result, the branch is unable to resume its inspection duties or fulfill its responsibilities.

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