Monday, July 22, 2019

State Auditor Slams DHS

State Auditor Shad White issued the following statement.

Several Mississippi state agencies failed to meet legal requirements to spend public money and do not have adequate safeguards to prevent fraud according to a report released today by State Auditor Shad White.

These findings came from the Auditor’s newly released FY 2018 Single Audit Report, which includes an audit of federal dollars spent by Mississippi’s state agencies. The report also includes an audit of the internal controls—the rules and systems to prevent fraud—and operations of selected state agencies.

“These audits represent months of difficult but important work by my finance and compliance audit division,” said Auditor White. “This is a critical yearly report that, unfortunately, shows there are serious issues in some of our state agencies.”

The Department of Human Services (DHS) was the subject of several significant findings in the report. The report notes that DHS

* Did not certify whether multiple childcare centers met health and safety standards
* Did not monitor recipients of several grants to determine whether grant money was spent in accordance with the law
* Did not compile basic, required documents, like a comprehensive list of grant recipients
* Did not follow federal reporting guidelines, submitting some federal paperwork nearly two years late
* Did not follow all legal requirements for ensuring beneficiaries of large programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) were actually eligible for the programs and did not or could not ensure childcare centers receiving CCDF funds accurately counted children in the centers.


 Several of these DHS findings have been repeatedly identified by the Auditor’s office since 2014 with no corrective action completed.

Findings listed in the Single Audit Report can affect the amount of federal funding Mississippi receives.

Mississippi Prison Industries Corporation, a non-profit created by the state to provide work programs for inmates, also drew serious findings. After a cash shortage and subsequent management change, the accounting office at Prison Industries has experienced a staff shortage. Without necessary staffing levels, job duties have not been properly separated. When too few employees have too much control over the finances of an office, the risk for fraud and theft increases.

Several state agencies have also created fraud risk by the way they utilize the software designed to manage payroll and purchasing. The Statewide Payroll and Human Resources System (SPAHRS) is the program used by the state to keep track of agency employees and their pay. If employees have too much individual control over an agency’s files on SPAHRS, the agency could be at risk for fraud. For instance, an employee with a great deal of control could create “ghost employees” to secretly funnel money to themselves. Auditor White recommended some agencies limit unnecessary access to SPAHRS and separate responsibility for recording entries in the system among multiple employees to prevent this situation.

Auditor White made similar recommendations regarding Mississippi's Accountability System for Government Information and Collaboration (MAGIC), the accounting and procurement software for the state.

Finally, auditors noted the overall level of expertise among accounting staff in multiple state agencies was insufficient. The State Auditor’s office recommends the Department of Finance and Administration continue training programs for accounting personnel in all state agencies.


The full 300-page report can be viewed online at www.osa.ms.gov under the “Reports” tab.

“My hope is that the agencies with the findings listed in the audit report will take swift action to remedy the problems we highlighted,” White said. “The taxpayers deserve to know that money is being spent appropriately, in accordance with the law, and that the proper safeguards to prevent fraud are in place. 

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't really understand how all these problems could exist under the fabulous leadership of Phil and Tate during the last eight years.

Anonymous said...

Shad is the best thing that has happened to Mississippi in a long time. Why do people confuse 'not for profit businesses' with charity? All this means is all monies made during the year are distributed to those in charge of the "not for profits"?

Anonymous said...

Glad we have a strong auditor! While he’s at it, he needs to do a through investigation of the Mississippi Home Corporation!

Anonymous said...

When is higher education going to be properly and deeply audited? Sheesh, bilions and billions....lost and misdirected.

Anonymous said...

This has the potential to lead to Jackson Audit Investigation Lock-ups (JAIL).

Anonymous said...

12:47 - yes, that. An agency in Mississippi mismanaged...you must be kidding! Mississippi state government only hires the best and brightest!

Anonymous said...

this is a classic example of why everybody wants to work for the government. no matter how bad you foul it up you bear no responsibility or accountability. keep track this story. in a couple of years you will see all of the personnel who were responsible for this total incompetence promoted to high positions and higher pay.

Anonymous said...

State employees that are thieves make me f--k sick!

They should all be prosecuted, jailed and lose their PEERS benefits.

Anonymous said...

But, I'm hearing Feel Brant on an advertisement for McRae, stating, "You trusted me to lead the state, so trust me again on this".

Anonymous said...

I was cool until he referred to the audit employees as “my audit department”. Pretty sure they work for the taxpayers...

Anonymous said...

Boy, it’s almost like Shadrack wants to stay in the news for some reason other than winning his unopposed re-election. I wonder if Hyde-Smith is smart enough to be concerned.

Anonymous said...

@6:26 PM - get real. He was giving credit to his hard working staff.

Go Mr. Shad!

Anonymous said...

“MY finance and compliance audit division”....... It’s not YOUR division, Shadley! That statement shows your lack of experience as both a manager and as a hunman being.

Anonymous said...

2:47 you just jealous, I worked for DHS for 30+ and is, am, and are enjoying my retirement pay and my 13th check. Don’t hate the players, hate the game or join it!

Anonymous said...

Who is the Director of DHS?

This is awful.

We received grants from the federal government and we don't know whether we spent the monies.

Anonymous said...

I break out in laughter now every time I hear the commercial about these DHS employees. It starts off by asking when was the last time you asked a DHS employee why they work there. Then goes off into the mythical bull shit claim of "They don't do it for the money. They do it because of their compassion and they want to help their fellow human beings....yada yada bullshit".

Louis LeFleur said...

Umm... for the record, the MDHS Director announced his retirement recently. I believe it takes effect at the end of this month. Odd timing...

Anonymous said...

@12:53 is right — Shad should audit the Home Corp— he’d find worse there than anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

9;05 ,a former DHS employee confirms everything 2;47 says

Anonymous said...

You’re right 12:53...didn’t know who Home Corp. was but just looked into them, haven’t been audited in 12 Years! That one is ripe to pop!

Anonymous said...

Do you really think that DHS gives a shit what the audit revealed. Do you think they are going to do anything long term or just a quick fix to pacify.

Anonymous said...

Accountability: The MDHS executive director resigned and no one worth their salt will take the job for the last five months.

Anonymous said...

What is Home Corp? Google doesn't help.

Anonymous said...

Look up Mississippi Home Corporation....they handle hundreds of Millions of $$$....and no audit?

Anonymous said...

@8:51 and 10:03 Mississippi Home Corp has an audit on their website. It was performed by Horne CPA for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015. I don't see one more recent.

Anonymous said...

Shad is the first professional from a reputed university that I have seen. We do discriminate against skilled people in State Agencies and I have personal experience of this aspect. It is perfectly legal to discriminate skills. I want to add here that the discrimination takes place irrespective of the race and color. It is far too risky to be a State Employee with skills.

MDHS forced the skills out of the people with skills from the area that Shad has pointed out. There is nothing that we can do except to look on the wastage of our tax dollars unless we elect real sincere leaders.

Anonymous said...

MDHS has known felons working for the agency with access to the SPHARS and MAGIC systems. Employees are vulnerable because these people have access to all social security information and any other confidential information of MDHS personnel. And the Executives are aware of these vulnerabilities and choose to look the other way. Employees weren’t allowed to receive percentages raising salaries, please investigate this Agency’s Budget department That is where you’re going to find missed management. I enjoyed reading that something is wrong and someone is really paying attention to the tax payers funds. Great article.

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