JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — According to State Auditor Shad White, millions of questioned costs were found in a newly released Single Audit of federal funds in Mississippi.
The audit includes federal funds spent by state agencies from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. During this time, White said many state agencies were drawing down federal stimulus dollars from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).
“We are committed to shining a light on how the state handled the massive amount of stimulus funds that flowed through Mississippi. This audit is intended to let the taxpayers see how their money was spent, warts and all,” said White.
Some of the findings in the audit include:
- The Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) handled unemployment compensation, and they saw a 301% increase in known overpayments from the previous year.
- MDES also spent stimulus money on workforce training equipment unrelated to combatting COVID-19, making the spending improper under stimulus rules.
- The Mississippi Division of Medicaid continues to provide funding to potentially ineligible recipients. A similar finding was included in last year’s Single Audit.
- The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) failed to follow proper procurement guidelines. Specifically, MDE allowed an eventual contract-winning vendor early access and the ability to suggest edits to the procurement specifications. The eventual winning bid was chosen due to vague product details. The winning bid was not one of the two lowest-priced bids.
- Multiple state agencies failed to properly monitor CRF spending by sub-recipients. This means other organizations—like nonprofits—were not appropriately monitored after being selected to operate government programs.