Call it a case of the blind leading the blind. North Carolina’s intrepid State Auditor, Beth Wood, has uncovered some shenanigans that would make even Robin Wright-Jones blush.
An audit released by her office last week has determined that a state program designed to train blind people to operate snack bars in state and federal buildings has spent $29 million over the last 15 years to train just 80 people — and only 53 of those were actually placed in jobs (that’s an average cost to the taxpayers of $547,169.81 per placed person). The money comes from federal funds and a small percentage of the revenue that’s generated by each food service and vending location.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Business Enterprise Program, which is run by the Department of Health and Human Services, lacks any established goals or performance measures. The audit also highlights the division’s lack of performance oversight, bookkeeping problems, and a failure to perform 125 of 193 sanitation inspections.
The director of DHHS’s Division of Services for the Blind, which administers the program, has since resigned.
Called “The Taxpayers’ Watchdog,” the Office of the State Auditor‘s mission is to provide the citizens of North Carolina with independent, unbiased and professional assessments of whether public resources are being publicly accounted for. They also investigate allegations of improper governmental conduct by state agencies or state employees within their statutory authority. The Office of the State Auditor maintains a toll-free hotline (1-800-730-8477) and an online resource to report waste, fraud, and abuse. For more information, click here.
Beth Wood is in her second term as North Carolina’s elected State Auditor. She is a Certified Public Accountant and long-time public servant with nearly 25 years of auditing experience. Be sure to read this recent profile of Auditor Wood in the High Point Enterprise News: State’s top ‘financial books cop’ visits High Point.