Auditor General finds "pervasive deficiencies"

Rep. David Reis responds to Auditor General's Finding
Here is the synopsis of the Performance Audit of state funding of Neighborhood Recovery Initiative:

The Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) is a program designed to reduce risk factors associated with violence in 23 communities in Cook County. In August 2010, the Governor’s Office gave the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority (IVPA) the responsibility to develop a framework for the program as well as administer and oversee the program. In each of the 23 communities, IVPA contracted with a lead agency which was responsible for managing the NRI program in their community. The 23 lead agencies contracted with 99 coordinating partners and 120 providing partners (community partners) to provide NRI services.

Our audit of the first two years of the $54.55 million NRI program found pervasive deficiencies in IVPA’s planning, implementation, and management of the NRI program.

• The NRI program was hastily implemented, which limited the time IVPA had to adequately plan for and implement the program.
• No documentation existed showing how IVPA selected the NRI communities, and not all the most violent Chicago communities were included in the program.
• IVPA did not exercise due diligence in the selection of the lead agencies.
• Contracts with community partners were not timely approved by IVPA.
• IVPA failed to adequately implement two critical financial control mechanisms: initial budgets and
quarterly fiscal reports.
-Required lead agencies’ initial budgets were routinely revised, even after the end of the budget year; and
-Quarterly reports required to be submitted by lead agencies and community partners were late and
frequently revised.
• IVPA also failed to approve reallocation of funds.
• Contractually required staffing levels were not met by community partners.
• Required timesheets were not consistently maintained by community partners.
• Lead agencies changed NRI personnel and contractually required IVPA notification was not documented.
• IVPA did not adequately monitor the expenses incurred by lead agencies and community partners.
Auditors selected 23 NRI agencies for site visits (2 went out of business, so only 21 were visited) and found that in many instances the supporting documentation provided did not support the expenditure amount reported by the agency on their close-out report. In other instances, expenses were unallowable. Auditors questioned $673,674 in expenditures because two providers went out of business and auditors were unable to verify the appropriateness of their expenditures. In total, auditors questioned $1.8 million of the $4.4 million (40 percent) charged by these agencies to the NRI program.
• IVPA utilized an inadequate process to recover unspent NRI funds from lead agencies and community partners.

More about the story.

Read Report Digest and a Full Report on the Auditor General's website.