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Audit finds state paid more for outsourcing printing

A state audit says the Gov. Jim Doyle administration was wrong when it thought it could save money by having a contractor do printing work instead of state employees.

Actually, the Legislative Audit Bureau said the state could have saved $616,000 by having 35 state workers do what the Spherion Corp., has done for more than five years.

The outsourcing came at a time when the state budget was billions in the red, and Gov. Jim Doyle had promised to cut the government's workforce. But State Employees' Union director Marty Beil said he knew his members could do the job more efficiently and he hopes the state will now review other outsourcing.

He called the audit's findings for the printing contract "kind of an 'I told you so."

But Linda Barth of the Administration Department said the audit's numbers were based on speculation. She said her agency would review its cost-benefit analysis to make sure it's up-to-date.

The audit was done after the state's new fraud hotline got a tip about an alleged hostile work environment in the printing and mailing office that state agencies and the Legislature use.

The complaint accused the state of lacking oversight but the audit found no evidence of that.