Sneak Preview: Oregon’s Oversight of Blindness Programs Scrutinized

December 15, 2011 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

(The following is an excerpt from an article in the January 2012 issue of the Single Audit Information Service.) Despite receiving audit findings over the last 16 years that have shown a pattern of fiscal irresponsibility, the Oregon Commission for the Blind continues to have numerous oversight problems, according to report from the Oregon Audits Division.

The Oregon Commission for the Blind is an agency that receives federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration to provide services for Oregonians who are blind or visually impaired. It is overseen by a seven-member commission that is appointed by the governor.

The OAD audited the agency in 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2009, finding weak fiscal oversight and recommending tighter scrutiny over spending and compliance with state laws and policies. The findings included using federal funds for nonclients, insufficient oversight over spending, failure to ensure procurement competition and failure to ensure that expenditures were necessary and reasonable.

Although agency managers claim to have addressed many of the recommendations from the 2009 audit, in a recent follow-up audit, the OAD found that many efforts were still inadequate. For example, the agency said it developed a policy to help employees identify eligible clients for program events and for setting individualized goals. However, the OAD found that the policy was not always followed, and that employees did not always use the newly developed event proposal form.

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