State auditor: Serious issues with some Mississippi agencies

The star marks Mississippi's capital city, Jackson.

A report from the state auditor shows several Mississippi agencies failed to meet requirements when it comes to spending public funds.

Posted: Jul 23, 2019 10:42 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) - A new report released by the State Auditor's Office shows several Mississippi agencies failed to meet requirements when it comes to spending public funds.

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

The Fiscal Year 2018 Single Audit Report listed the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Mississippi Prison Industries Corporation among those not in compliance. 

The report notes several findings with DHS, including:

  • 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.

Meanwhile, the reports show Mississippi Prison Industries Corporation, a non-profit created by the state to provide work programs for inmates, has experienced a staff shortage. 

According to White, when too few employees have too much control over the finances of an office, the risk for fraud and theft increases.

“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," White said.

To see the full 300-page report, open this link here

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