April 21, 2011; Source: NJ.com | In Trenton, the New Jersey Community Action Agency is in trouble with the state after an audit reportedly revealed a number of problems with grant administration and $330,000 that has gone missing in relation to a stimulus funded weatherization grant. The auditor has found that the agency can be faulted for inadequate bookkeeping, comingling of federal funds with other monies and poor procurement procedures. And then of course there is also the issue of the missing money. At the time of the audit the agency was found to have spent $1.5 million of the $2.1 million it had been awarded and had only $270, 000 remaining in the account.
The auditor apparently believes that there is plenty of blame to go around and is also faulting the Department of Community Affairs for inadequate oversight of the weatherization program. And, in fact two other audits of community agencies have found mismanagement as well. New Jersey Community Action Agency meanwhile has had nearly all of its state funding cut and is facing a forensic audit.
The weatherization program in New Jersey has been a flash point for some time. As far back as November 2010 the weatherization program in New Jersey was reported to have “failed to launch”, getting off to a very slow start and having spend down and work completion rates running well behind other states.—Ruth McCambridge