by Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer
As 2022 ends, I wanted to take stock of the work my office has done over the course of the year.
The mission of my office is to hold State government accountable by making sure programs are working effectively and that State government is operating efficiently. I’m happy to provide this brief summary of our efforts this year on your behalf.
- Our audit of the Agency of Human Service’s COVID health care provider grant program uncovered $7 million of ineligible payments. Examples included: one provider overstated its need by $1.5 million by submitting duplicate expenses, one provider failed to report $700,000 it had already received to cover the same financial need, and two providers paid out $1.3 million in bonuses in violation of federal rules.
- Our audit of the Criminal Justice Council’s law enforcement officer training oversight revealed that some law enforcement agencies could not prove their officers were receiving the amount and type of training required by state law. The Council is using our recommendations to overhaul its system which will promote better trained officers and, thus, public safety.
- Presented a report to the Legislature identifying $16.3 million in potential savings to the state employees’ health care plan without any benefit reductions. Though neither the Legislature nor the Administration made any effort to pursue the matter in 2022, we hope the anticipated 11.45% premium increases will prompt action in 2023.
- Our audit of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Dam Safety Program found that many dams aren’t receiving required inspections, even when they are in bad shape and their failure could lead to loss of life or major property damage. After we shared our initial findings with the Department, $2.3 million was added to their budget for dam safety.
- Our audit of the Department of Corrections’ inmate grievance process found that the Department does not have an effective system, which jeopardizes the life, health, and safety of staff and incarcerated individuals. An ineffective system also prevents management from uncovering problems at their facilities or with specific staff.
- Quantified for the first time the total effort Vermont state government has made in recent years to combat homelessness.
- At the request of Governor Scott, we audited the Department of Labor following the release of Vermonters’ personal information like social security numbers, biographical details, and work history. The audit found numerous weaknesses which expose Vermonters’ to nefarious hackers and fraudsters.
- Issued an analysis of the state’s performance measurement system, highlighting the many improvements needed to make it useful to citizens to hold their government accountable.
- Testified in numerous legislative committees, resulting in actions that reduced the risk of improperly spending tens of millions of federal funding.
In the coming months we’ll be releasing additional audits and reports covering a range of topics – from making sure our broadband funds are well spent to protecting Vermonters living in assisted living and residential care homes.
Categories: State Government