Auditor recommendations going unheeded

Misuse of grant money, lax procedures continue at state Emergency Management

State Journal staff report, Published:

Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen expressed concerns Monday that the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management has not fully embraced recommendations he made in a special audit completed in August.

Five findings in the second part of Edelen’s annual statewide audit for fiscal year 2013 pertain to federal grant dollars spent by KYEM and its umbrella organization, the Department of Military Affairs, and had been previously raised in the August report, according to a news release. In all, the audit issues 12 findings related to the two agencies.

“I am frustrated that KYEM management continues to defend its abuses in the (statewide audit) report, rather than own up to the problems that have long plagued that agency,” Edelen said in the release. “I fear that’s an indication that management is not making the reforms needed to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure the agency isn’t distracted from its number one mission of public protection.”

Auditors must examine compliance with federal grant requirements by law, and Edelen’s office issued 76 findings and questioned $3.7 million in expenses. In all, the state received federal grants totaling about $9.3 billion in fiscal year 2013, about $700,000 less than the prior year, the release states.

Edelen’s August report found a number of issues in KYEM, such as employees being threatened, documents being altered to mask dubious expenses, lax procurement procedures and alcohol, entertainment and gifts bought with tax dollars. None of those issues arose in the statewide audit released Monday, though Edelen’s office raised a number of reporting issues and noted more than $1.5 million in questionable expenses.

The second part of the statewide audit also found the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet failed to collect payroll records each pay period, as required by federal law, from four contractors and two subcontractors, with pay period information missing for one contractor and four subcontractors.

“With work now underway on the massive, $2.6 billion Louisville Bridges Project, taxpayers and those who will be paying tolls are counting on the Transportation Cabinet to carefully monitor every single dollar,” Edelen said in the release.

The first part of Edelen’s statewide audit found 36 deficiencies in internal controls over financial reporting, according to the release.

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  • Well, it would probably help if they would actually appoint an Emergency Manager for the state.  Since the situation last August, the division has been in the charge of someone who has made it clear he's just "temporary" - so nothing whatsoever has changed.   And, that individual, who served in a supervisory situation to the prior holder of the position, and who is the financial overseer for the DMA - could be considered part of the problem.