The director of the state Department of Economic Development vows to use the findings of a state audit to improvement the department’s operations.
State Economic Development Director Courtney Dentlinger doesn’t see any glaring problems in what the state audit discloses. She does see a need for better internal controls.
“People make mistakes, but if one person has an error or misses something we need to make sure that there’s another set of eyes so that they can pick up where that person left off,” Dentlinger tells reporters during a recent news conference.
Dentlinger says the department has been subjected to three separate audits, state and federal.
The state audit covered 2015, before Dentlinger came on board. In fact, one of the findings of the audit criticized the lack of documentation to justify a $14,286 settlement reached with former Director, Brenda Hicks-Sorensen.
State Auditor Charlie Janssen says he has been impressed with how the Department of Economic Development responded to the department, cooperating with his staff to address problems.
The state audit focused on sloppy financial management, critical of the department’s lack of written policies and procedures which led to poor documentation or expenses. The audit pointed to excessive reimbursement for employees when traveling. State auditors questioned whether the department adequately reviewed the allocation of three grants which totaled more than one million dollars.
Dentlinger says the department must improve documentation and devise a system to store documents to address the problems disclosed by the audit.
“They are all very easily fixed with better policies and procedures and internal controls and so I don’t have any concerns going forward with the agency,” according to Dentlinger. “These are things that we can put into place very quickly.”
Dentlinger has announced a number of changes to address financial management problems, including adding a chief financial officer and an internal auditor as well as an attorney to worked through delayed contracts.
Dentlinger says a federal audit is being conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development on block grants.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]