Auditor General Jack Wagner has uncovered what he calls the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s (DPW) mismanagement of $144 million in tax payers money. Under the “special allowance” program, DPW was handing out money to the unemployed for child care, books, clothing, tools and transportation. From July 2006 to December 2007, according to Wagner’s report, there were problems found in 45% of the cases examined.
Republican State Representative Mike Turzai of Allegheny County says this has been an issue since last session. He says “whistle-blowers” from across the state came to hearings to give examples of the abuse of the “special allowance” program, but DPW would not take proper responsibility and action. He says now that Wagner and his “professional” auditors have provided proof of the mismanagement, significant changes must be made.
Turzai says the main problem with the special allowances is the electronic cards, similar to debit cards, given out to people on welfare. Proper documentation was not being recorded, and people were using their cards for things such as drugs. His legislation would eliminate those cards from being distributed, and any money for careers will be given directly to the vendors instead of the individuals in order to assure that the money is being used correctly. The bill will also limit payments for child care, transportation, union fees, testing fees and professional fees.