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02/28/2012

DPS controls lax over hundreds of millions in federal grant dollars, audit finds

The Texas Department of Public Safety’s oversight of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants was plagued by slapdash controls that included paying subrecipients twice and not checking whether they were barred from receiving federal funds, according to a State Auditor’s Office report

DPS’ accounting system for some grants was so substandard that it had to rely on the federal system it used to request funds instead of its own.  

The department spent $81.1 million in hazard mitigation grants but did not have a process to verify whether its grant subrecipients were suspended, debarred or otherwise excluded from federal contracts. (Only after the audit did the state verify that none were.)

DPS did not always competitively bid out procurements. In one instance, department management overrode controls when the results of a competitive bid process were unfavorable to management’s preferred vendor. The vendor was paid $424,980. 

Adding to the mess, the department did not calculate, monitor or pay the interest money it earned on federal funds, as required. The department gave subrecipients hardship advances without obtaining proof that they actually disbursed the funds. 

DPS also did not ensure that all direct costs that it charged to federal grants were solely allocable to each federal program.  

-- Darren Barbee

 

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