Allegheny County Controller Mark Patrick Flaherty says 6 human service agencies that have contracts with the county are out of compliance and owe the county more than a half million dollars.
Flaherty says they regularly audit the contracts "to make sure that the dollars are spent the way they should be and that taxpayers are getting efficient use of their money for these programs"
Flaherty says the audits showed key compliance issues with Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Pressley Ridge, Womanspace East, Next Step Foundation, Community Human Services Corporation and Community Empowerment Association (CEA).
"The most significant disparity was found in Community Empowerment Association’s noncompliance with its contract revealing that the agency owes Allegheny County approximately $304,000 for unsupported service hours and operating expenditures."
CEA is an agency that works to empower the African-American community through jobs, economic development, housing, education and family support systems.
Flaherty says Next Step, which provides transitional housing, education and support to individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, owes the county $64,900 due to an erroneous payment by the Department of Human Services.
According to the audit, Goodwill billed the county for salaries and benefits that exceeded the contract’s allowable amounts by $33,636; Pressley Ridge, a foster care provider, received $31,692 more than net eligible costs; Womanspace East owes the County $4,200 due to improper invoicing; and, Community Human Services (CHS)Corporation owes Allegheny County $23,000 billed for indirect, unsupported costs.
However, Adrienne Walnoha, Chief Executive Officer of CHS says her organization has been working with the County for two months to rectify this situation. "CHS did not inappropriately bill the County for any funds. We received an unqualified independent audit for the fiscal year in question and billed costs as outlined in our contracts."
Flaherty says he's recommending full reimbursement by these agencies
“The reviewed agencies should focus on strengthening their program management, documentation and accountability standards to preclude further disallowances from occurring. The Department of Human Services must closely monitor the terms of its contracts, units of service and other regulations to ensure compliance.”
Flaherty says it's hard to say whether these were just honest mistakes or if there were any intentional actions involved.