Pennsylvania DCED: Improvements in Accountability, Monitoring Made to Local Government Training Program

Dec 07, 2010, 18:17 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development

Secretary Pledges to Look into Auditor General's Recommendations to Build Upon Previously Implemented Improvements

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Austin Burke said today that his agency has implemented a number of improvements—dating back to 2008—that have strengthened oversight of a statewide program that helps local government officials through training programs.

DCED's stepped-up enforcement of its monitoring practices has already led to the state recouping tens of thousands of dollars in fees that lacked proper documentation, Burke added.

Burke's comments were in response to a special report by Auditor General Jack Wagner covering a DCED contract with the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, or PSATS, that was released today.

"We appreciate the Auditor General's review of this program and will certainly take his recommendations into account," Burke said.  "DCED has already instituted many procedural changes to step up the accountability of this program, but more can be – and will be – done."

Burke noted that DCED intends to implement a significant number of modifications to these types of contracts to improve program delivery and provide the most cost- effective and efficient training programs possible.

Through internal monitoring, DCED found instances where process documentation for registration fees was lacking and has since recovered nearly $50,000 of undocumented fees from PSATS during the time period of July 1, 2006 to December 2008.

In addition, DCED staff met with PSATS in 2008 to discuss contract issues and developed a new set of guidelines that were adopted and included as part of the PSATS training contract. These guidelines provide for greater accountability of commonwealth funds and more specificity on registration fees, invoicing, equipment, marketing, course development, course delivery and reporting processes.

The guidelines will also ensure that PSATS follows commonwealth policies on travel and meal reimbursement rates and requires PSATS to find the most cost effective but suitable facilities to conduct future training programs. DCED is also more closely monitoring training site selections to ensure they are meeting the requirements in the guidelines.

Media contact: Jamie Yates, 717-783-1132

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development