AOC OCCM Audit: Under-Staffed Construction Projects Need Leadership

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Demonstrating how complex a construction project can be, Pegasus-Global Holdings, Inc., a Washington firm, released its audited on the overall direction of the AOC/OCCM, and found there was simply too much work for the current staff. Destiny Homes, a Minneapolis construction contractor and home remodeler, brings leadership to complex construction projects through practices that are uniform, transparent, providing a single point of accountability.

CA Court Construction Program and hte AOC/OCCM audit

CA Court Construction Program

We are concerned that the court construction program may be headed in the same direction as the CCMS fiasco--a complete failure after a wholesale waste of public funds. ~ Judge David Lampe

While auditing the Administration Office of the Courts (AOC) and the Office of Court Construction and Management (OCCM), Pegasus-Global reported that every Program and Project Manager interviewed "was willing to answer questions in a very open and comprehensive manner. Program and Project Managers acknowledged what they considered to be gaps in the governance of the Program and the projects, often sharing suggestions which they believed would strengthen both the Program and the projects".

In the eyes of many taxpayers, the audit's final report seems to confirm the power of this construction program to spend over $6 billion public dollars on projects already identified. The Judicial Council Watcher says, "Given these findings, the Legislature should simply take control of further construction projects from the AOC. At a minimum there must be an audit conducted by the State Auditor".

Co-owner Butch Sprenger of Destiny Homes in Minneapolis says, "the California case merits thought for home builders and construction projects, whether small or large. While megaprograms are unique in that they have multiple levels of management, the principles of responsible leadership, defined roles, transparent and consistent communications keep a project on track and make for a great experience for the owners"

"A continuous improvement loop is dependent on developing, installing and using a formal, agile process of gaining from lessons learned. We can learn a lot from the AOC/OCCM audit without needing to make all of the same mistakes ourselves," Sprenger says.

The report, consisting of 736 pages, can be found at the CA courts website or on the AOC's website. Several key statements in the report follow:

  • Ultimately, Program Management had to choose where to focus its attention with the limited time and staff resources available, and chose to focus on the actions which would most quickly meet the objectives mandated, in the most expeditious manner possible.
  • There is no formal delegation of authority and responsibility at either the program or project levels. This has resulted in confusion and some disagreement as to who within the Program and project structure are accountable for the decisions made and actions taken on behalf of the Program and each project.
  • The OCCM staff is well qualified and is dedicated to the execution of the Program and individual projects, often bearing a program and project load which is at, or in certain cases, beyond the limits of the person’s reasonable span of control.
  • AOC/OCCM should develop a more structured set of policies, procedures and processes to be followed relative to management and control of project schedules.

Some interrupt the independent consultant's review of the state's courthouse construction program as excoriating the agency for mismanagement. The Alliance of California Judges has let the public know that the AOC paid more than $420,000 for the audit, which it called “an indictment of the Office of Court Construction and Management and the failure of the Judicial Council to lead.”

The judgements and finding in this case demonstrate a call for responsible and accountable leadership of construction projects that come out of taxpayers pockets. Borrowing a perspective from the International Journal of Project Management, David Baccarini said, "Construction projects are invariably complex and since and have become progressively more so. In fact the construction process may be considered the most complex undertaking in any industry".

Destiny Homes works closely with homeowners clarifying roles and responsibilities whenever a construction or renovation project begins, when the contract ends, at key milestones, and for any reports needed, communicating details to the parties involved. Minneapolis area construction projects can contact Destiny Homes at 952-934-5706 and check out builder services with strong work ethic where people are first.

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Butch and Liz Sprenger
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