TRENTON – The state Division of Developmental Disabilities has made improvements in several areas, such as recovering thousands of dollars, tightening its travel expenditure policy and better monitoring contracts, Comptroller Matthew Boxer said in a report issued today.
“We’re pleased that the Division of Developmental Disabilities has made significant progress in correcting the flaws we identified in our initial audit,” Boxer said in reference to a 2009 audit. “These concrete changes already have saved significant taxpayer dollars and will continue to pay dividends for New Jersey in the future.”
The original audit sampled state reimbursements to four service providers and found that one provider, Allies Inc., had been reimbursed for a series of inappropriate expenditures totaling approximately $160,000, including reimbursements for cruises to the Mediterranean and Caribbean taken by the provider’s management, staff and clients with developmental disabilities.
With the help of an accounting firm that reviewed all of Allies’ expenditures from July 2006 to June 2008, DDD subsequently determined that Allies was responsible for returning $353,000 in expenses, which DDD has since recovered by withholding that amount from Allies’ first contract payment this fiscal year, the comptroller’s office said.
The office also reviewed 200 more recent transactions with service providers and found no unreasonable or inappropriate expenditures. Since the initial audit, DDD also has revised its policy so that it no longer funds vacation expenditures for service providers’ staff members or their clients.
The follow-up review also found that DDD has since collected nearly $18 million by performing closeouts of expired contracts dating back to 2005.
The comptroller’s initial audit also had found that DDD wasted approximately $1.4 million by paying for more individuals than were actually receiving services. Specifically, OSC found that on average 20 percent of the slots for which the state had paid were unattended on a daily basis. OSC’s follow-up found the percentage of payments that went to unattended slots has declined to 12 percent. OSC will continue to monitor DDD’s progress on this and other issues from the initial audit that have not yet been fully addressed, the review stated.