Audit: Reduce ODOT consultants, save money

Posted Jan. 15, 2020 by

Report confirms union claims: ODOT consultants are overpriced!

An ODOT performance audit released by the Ohio State Auditor just before the New Year confirms what your union, OCSEA, has been saying for decades: consultants are overpriced and state employees can do the work at a major savings to Ohio taxpayers.

The Auditor's report, released on Dec. 31, 2019, specifically found that the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) could save taxpayers upwards of $21 million per year if the state agency utilized in-house staff for construction inspection services. The report indicates that the cost of an outsourced consultant inspector is almost three times the cost of using a state-employed professional to perform the same functions. The Auditor's recommendation in the report: "Based on the current cost structure, ODOT should deploy qualified internal staff before hiring consultant inspectors." The same is true for IT consultants in the agency, according to the study.

OCSEA union leaders couldn't agree more and urge ODOT to reduce its reliance on expensive consultants!

"It's not surprising that there is cost-savings to keeping construction inspection performed in-house by qualified union employees rather than using overpriced consultants. The union has been pushing these efficient actions for years and will continue to aggressively push ODOT to move in this direction," said OCSEA/ODOT Assembly President Sabrina Bell.

The performance audit was required under the state budget that authorized raising the gas tax, which funds Ohio's construction infrastructure projects. The Audit focused on efficiency in regard to Construction Inspections, Information Technology Staffing and Equipment Purchasing/Leasing.

Federal legislative advocacy group and OCSEA partner against transportation privatization, NASHTU, says states that continue to move in this direction are seeing savings to taxpayers. NASHTU stands for the National Association of State Highway and Transportation Unions. A similar audit in Tennessee moved the state's transportation commissioner to reduce reliance on outsourced consultants and resulted in a $43 million annual savings, says NASHTU. Those savings go right back into infrastructure projects. Read more about NASHTU's advocacy on this issue.