State Government

Auditor uncovers $7 million in ineligible payments and law enforcement training problems, lists state efforts to help homeless

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

6 replies »

  1. Having citizens be able to hold their government accountable? Didn’t the legislature just vote only last year to pass a bill which “protects” elected & appointed officials and other public servants from “threats” from the citizenry??

    You know it legislators…the types of “threats” as when those you SERVE sent you letters with regard to potential fraud in the 2020 election, and in turn? YOU turned those letters of concern to VERMONT LAW ENFORCEMENT claiming them as “threats”!!!!!!!!!! Recall?

    Even the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont warned that this legislation which was passed into law – dampens FREEDOM of POLITICAL EXPRESSION.

    As my obligation to my Constitution, I shall criticize you at every turn regardless, as I live free and there is nothing you can ever do to alter that.

    • And republin Tom Burditt of West Rutland, who was recently re-elected was one of the republican representatives who was fully on board with stripping everyone of their right to free speech.

      He was also one of the turncoats who signed on with so called republicans Phil Scott, Joe Benning and Patty McCoy and others to remove Donald Trump from office early.

      Some of these these so called republicans voted for Joe Biden and add to the claims we are white supremacists and insurrectionists and domestic terrorists.

      I know most voters expect our elections to be without fraud but when you question an election that many problems this is how they attack you along with the democrats.

      They just couldn’t wait to begin the destruction of the Biden administration…

  2. just like Washington lawmakers unconcerned about ineligible payments because it is not their money and may be going to their favorites

  3. Rephrasing the audit findings: $7,000,000 of illegible payments to AHS – if that is not recovered, it is stolen taxpayer money. $16,000,000 overspending under State Employee Healthcare – if that hole is not plugged, it is stolen taxpayer money. $23,000,000 identified, yet how much more is there exactly? Annual budgets increased from $7.32 billion to $8.1 billion from 2021-2022. The 2016 State budget was $1.6 billion. In six years, Vermont increased spending by $7 billion in a State with roughly 640,000 residents.

    Other staggering Vermont stats (Spotlight on Poverty.org)
    Households receiving federal rental assistance:14,000
    Households receiving LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program):27,520
    Number of children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP: 64,431
    Number of women and children receiving WIC (Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition program): 11,227

    A behemoth welfare system supported by taxpayers – federal taxes and state taxes (two tax systems picked from the same pockets.) Unsustainable. Failed policies supported and implemented by failed politicians and failed bureaucrats. The wasteful spending is obvious and has gone on for decades. Those who pad their own bank accounts with taxpayer dollars are living high on the hog with ill-gotten gains. Those in the Legislature and Executive Branch today will continue operating the same way. They will pile on even more financial burden onto taxpayers during this recession and record high inflation. They don’t care because they are reaping the ill-gotten gains. The real numbers don’t lie. Vermont is a failed State and cesspool of corruption.

    • “People padding their bank accounts with ill-gotten gains” …that money is not ill-gotten according to those in the legislature who have doled it out. It is a fair exchange, being given in exchange for their voting for democrats. Liberals/progressives are very generous people…just with other peoples’ money.

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