But it's another bad day, too, for Bill Walker, the former senator who heads the Department of Career Education and who's been in the news lately for hiring an unqualified person to be a translator for the deaf. This, on top of controversy over his actions at the rehabilitation center in Hot Springs (a successful whistleblower lawsuit); some criticism of his real estate practices, and a seemingly unending series of complaints from employees internally about his management and that of Robert Trevino, head of Rehabilitation Services.
Under the microscope today is Arkansas Rehabilitation Services. Audit concludes the agency:
* overpaid an employee on leave without pay $20,431 in pay and benefits. The audit recommended repayment. The agency said it self-reported the error and was trying to collect the money.
* did not properly record accounts payable and receivable. An inexperienced employee was partially to blame and the agency is working to improve procedures, it said.
* didn't properly record fixed assets. The agency said retirement of a key employee led to this mistake.
* didn't properly manage the Assistance Technology Loan Program and Forgiveness of Student Loan Program. Management challenged part of this finding, but said corrective steps had been taken.
* didn't follow purchasing procedures, such as not taking bids for $77,000 in furniture purchases, not taking bids for renting a facility for a staff meeting for $6,144; not itemizing catering costs for a $1,821 employee banequet, and not itemizing $27,495 spent on a client's van conversaion.
* didn't follow travel regulations by spending over limits on 12 trips, failing to produce authorization on four, failing to provide support documents on six, and not providing authorization memos for meal payments without overnight travel. Management said corrective action had been taken.
* didn't comply with personnel policy requirements. Among the shortcomings: Six employees hadn't provided code of ethics statemetns; five failed to provide proof of degree or licensing; six had unchecked driver records; four jobs were advertised internally without personnel office approval. Management again said corrective action had been taken.
One wonders if the division did anything right?
Will Gov. Beebe continue to stand firmly behind Walker's management? He has to date.
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