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Audit: $10 million in non-required mail costs

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Nov. 1, 2011 at 10:32 am with No Comments »
November 1, 2011 10:32 am

The largest state agencies are sending out more mail than required by law, according to a state audit.

The state sent out 66 million pieces of mail in fiscal 2010 at a cost of more than $30 million, according to Auditor Brian Sonntag’s performance audit.

Auditors looked at the biggest agencies and identified $9.9 million worth of high-volume mail that either didn’t legally have to be sent or could have gone out by a different method, presumably electronically.

For example, more than 1 million driver’s license renewal reminders weren’t required, and 400,000 letters to the unemployed contain instructions on filing claims and job searches that are available online.

Of course, some of the unemployed, not to mention the disadvantaged people served by many state programs, may not have access to a computer or know how to use it.

State budget director Marty Brown pointed that out in his reply to the audit and also said there are times when mailing is good customer service.

But agencies also said they have taken steps to reduce mailings. The Department of Licensing said it e-mailed 6.5 percent of license-tab renewal notices in 2010. The Employment Security Department said 96 percent of people filed their weekly unemployment claims online or by phone, and over half received their benefits through direct deposit.

Sonntag recommended the Legislature remove all mailing requirements from state law.

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