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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The City’s auditor, RSM LLP, has released its annual compliance audit of the City’s federal expenditures.
RSM gave an unmodified opinion on the City’s federal programs, with the exception of the U.S. Department of Labor’s America’s Promise grant program, administered by the Department of Workforce Development. The program is designed to accelerate the development and expansion of regional workforce partnerships committed to providing a pipeline of skilled workers in specific sectors.
The $3 million grant was awarded to the City of Springfield by the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration in December 2016, with the period of performance of Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2020. Participants choose one of six allied health care tracks to study tuition-free at Ozarks Technical Community College: certified nurse assistant, pharmacy technician, certified medical assistant, phlebotomist, LPN to RN bridge and emergency medical technician.
RSM’s qualified opinion is based on a material weakness in an internal control and an instance of noncompliance regarding verification of eligibility of participants.
BackgroundIn late 2019, upon discovering a potential issue with eligibility, Workforce Development staff contacted City management and the U.S. Department of Labor. A special audit of the program was performed in December 2019 at the request of City management.
Corrective action taken included changing the authorized representative for the grant to the interim director of the Department of Workforce Development and developing a new participant eligibility policy and checklist for the enrollment process, which includes definitions for “local education agency,” “unemployed,” “underemployed” and “incumbent worker.”
The online application process now includes address information to confirm residence in the service area and questions to ensure compliance with the age, local education agency and current employment status requirements. Program staff attended training for the grant’s revised eligibility determination and enrollment policy and procedure.
According to the audit, costs in question are approximately $465,000 in grant funds, as estimated by funds provided to 106 participants initially determined to be ineligible. Of the 106 participants, 47 were the result of not satisfying the fourth eligibility requirement – an employment status of unemployed, underemployed or an incumbent worker.
The City is reviewing the interpretation of the incumbent worker status with the DOL to determine if these participants may be eligible. If the DOL issues a determination that the City’s definition of “incumbent worker” was too restrictive and those 47 participants are actually eligible, the remaining questioned costs would be $246,000 provided to 59 participants.
The City hopes to learn DOL’s final determination within a few weeks.
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For more information, please call Finance Director David Holtmann at 417-864-1632, or Director of Public Information and Civic Engagement Cora Scott at 417-864-1009 or 417-380-3352.