DePasquale’s Debut: Targets DPW in First Major Audit
An audit released by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale reveals a significant lack of oversight within the Department of Public Welfare.
His report shows that, following a transition between payroll providers in January, thousands of home care workers had to wait up to four months for their paychecks. These workers help the elderly and disabled get the medical care they need in their own homes.
It’s the biggest report yet for DePasquale, who was sworn in earlier this year.
Beyond the financial and emotional stress for the workers, confusion surrounding the missing paychecks led at least 1,500 people receiving home care services to move to more expensive care models. DePasquale found that the costs associated with this have forced state taxpayers to pay an extra $7 million.
The Auditor General sternly reprimanded DPW for its lack of proper oversight and subsequent complacency towards his office’s findings.
“DPW said that they will ‘consider’ our recommendations,” DePasquale said. “It is clear through our audit findings that DPW must do more than ‘consider’ our recommendations. People are tired of state and federal governments not taking responsibility for their actions and the consequences of those actions.”
The audit also found that the bidding process to find a new payroll provider gave special preference to Public Partnerships Limited, who secured the contract.
“The fact that the procurement process was unfair to other vendors is nearly as disturbing as DPW’s disregard for the workers and home care participants harmed in this process,” DePasquale said. “For example, DPW initially told interested vendors that no cash advance would be provided as working capital during the transition. Then, after awarding the contract to Public Partnerships Limited, the company requested, and DPW provided, an $18 million cash advance for payroll expenditures. The state provided $18 million up front — and cash advances that continue — and still workers’ paychecks were delayed. ”
You can read the full report here.
Last week, DePasquale also found that two Lackawanna County School districts mispent a combined $7.5 million due to failed investments and poor decision making.