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2023-128 Department of Pesticide Regulation

Insufficient Staffing and Inefficient Processes Delay Pesticide Registrations

Audit Recommendations Disclosure

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor’s assessment of auditee’s response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendation 1

To determine whether it is meeting its obligation to perform timely registration reviews, DPR should, by January 2025, establish a plan to develop, implement, and meet valid and measurable standards, including any required by law, for registration processing times. Unless AB 2113 is enacted, DPR should adopt regulations reflecting its planned timeliness standards by January 2028. To provide transparency and demonstrate progress as it works toward meeting those standards, DPR should, by January 2025, develop and implement a policy to annually report the following on its website:

  • Its progress in meeting interim targets for its average registration processing times, for the number of applications it will process annually, and for reducing existing backlogs.
  • Its progress in adopting or revising its regulations to reflect its updated timeliness standards.

Recommendation 2

To ensure that its implementation of CalPEST sufficiently addresses its current tracking system’s limitations related to simultaneously processed applications, consistent renewal processing, and determination of evaluation times by application use type, DPR should, by July 2025, demonstrate that it is using CalPEST to do the following:

  • Track registrations that it is processing simultaneously.
  • Automate the registration renewal process, including standardizing the process’ procedures and supporting documentation.
  • Track registrations by use-type.

Recommendation 3

To ensure that it can perform timely reviews for pesticide registrations, DPR should, by July 2025, develop a policy to assess its registration-related staffing needs on at least an annual basis by monitoring its progress toward achieving valid and measurable overall and station-specific timeliness standards. The policy should identify how it will measure the effectiveness of its efforts to improve its registration process through adjustments to its staffing.

Recommendation 4

To ensure that it consistently selects for audit companies with heightened risks of noncompliance with mill reporting requirements, DPR should, by January 2025, formalize its guidance for annually selecting companies to audit. The guidance should identify the main criteria DPR will employ when selecting companies to audit, such as a company’s sales volume, changes to a company’s sales volume, and a company’s geographic location. The guidance should also identify the number of audits DPR should conduct annually.

Recommendation 5

To demonstrate that it adequately trains its regulatory scientists, DPR should, by January 2025, implement a policy and procedure for tracking completion of the required training for new regulatory scientists.

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