Audit finds problems with state oversight of federal money | St. Louis Public Radio

Audit finds problems with state oversight of federal money

Mar 24, 2011

An audit released today finds that several state agencies in Missouri have not adequately kept track of how federal stimulus dollars are being spent.

The state has spent about $2.6 billion in money received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) says much of that money went to state agencies that oversee K-12 schools, higher education and Medicaid.

“We’re not saying they didn’t spend the money right," Schweich said.  "What we’re saying is that they didn’t monitor the spending of the money so we could determine whether it was correctly spent."

Schweich says the monitoring system used by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is inadequate because it examines monies received during the prior school year, not the current.

But DESE officials disagree, saying their reporting system meets federal guidelines.    Dr. Ron Lankford is the agency's Deputy Commissioner for Finance and Administrative Service.

 “To audit after the fact is historically what audits are about," Lankford said.  "Unless there’s been a call for a special audit, everybody audits after the fact, and that’s what we have done with federal monies since the inception of federal monies.”

The audit also found that some child care payments went to non-eligible recipients, and that state Health officials failed to conduct annual reassessments for some Medicaid recipients.  Health and Senior Services officials have not responded to a request for comments. 

Original Story:

Will be updated with comments from Auditor Schweich

A required audit of the money Missouri received from the federal government in fiscal year 2010 has found that some state departments are doing a poor job overseeing those dollars.

Findings of the so-called single audit, released today by Republican Tom Schweich, include:

  • The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education did not monitor money it received under the federal stimulus act. DESE was also one of several departments that did not have a way to make sure it was submitting required federal reports on time.
  • The Department of Social Services did not make sure that child care payments were going to eligible clients, or that charges to the state's cash assistance program were appropriate. The audit also found a problem with money DSS's MoHealthNet division (the state's Medicaid program) spent without federal approval.
  • The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations also had problems with inaccurate recordkeeping

The state spent about $14.8 billion in federal awards during FY2010, $2.6 billion of which came from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The single audit reviews major programs that accounted for about $13.5 billion of that total.