August 5, 2016 |
By 2021, the Philadelphia School District will have a $600 million budget deficit, City Controller Alan Butkovitz said Wednesday - and he's asking Mayor Kenney to give his office more auditing authority over the district to "avoid fiscal calamity. " Under current rules, Butkovitz said, his office can review only the district's financial statements. He wants to be able to conduct performance reviews, and look more closely at how the district spends money and grants contracts. "We just need the authorization to cut through the red tape and inspect all of the pages in their books," the controller said in the statement.
July 28, 2016 |
An audit released Tuesday by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale found deficiencies in the way the Pennsylvania Department of Health enforced the state's minimum standard of 2.7 hours per day of direct nursing care. The audit covered the period from Jan. 1, 2014, through Oct. 31, 2015. Only last July did the health department start accepting anonymous complaints about nursing homes. That was a second area of concern in the audit, because it likely compromised the department's ability to receive and investigate complaints, the audit said.
July 14, 2016 |
The city controller is asking that the Kenney administration conduct an inventory of the city's 2,700 facilities. As part of his annual audit of the city's financial statement for fiscal 2015, which ended on June 30 of last year, Controller Alan Butkovitz said the city does not periodically check the condition of its real estate assets, which include police stations, fire houses, recreation centers, libraries, and historic mansions. "A failure to inventory has increased the risk of inaccurate accounting records for the city," Butkovitz said in a statement.
July 9, 2016 |
HARRISBURG - A new audit has found problems with long waiting lists, sloppy admission practices, and grievance procedures at state-run veterans homes across Pennsylvania. State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Thursday that irregularities in the operation of the six homes by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has led to delayed care for veterans and their spouses 65 and older, many of them poor. The facilities, including in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, provide nursing care and lodging.
June 27, 2016 |
Big-name Republicans aren't exactly jostling each other for the chance to be Donald Trump's apprentice. Democrats are watching as Hillary Clinton goes on the road Monday in pivotal Ohio with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), the progressive icon. It sure seems like a tryout. After a bruising primary fight with Bernie Sanders, Clinton does need help with her party's disappointed left and young voters, analysts point out. And Trump, after two bumpy months as presumptive GOP nominee in which he has wallowed in gaffes and failed to raise much money, could use political and policy heft in a running mate - somebody soothing to anxious party leaders and donors.
June 21, 2016 |
The political flare-up Thursday during City Council's last session before the summer break was overshadowed by the attention poured on the new beverage tax. Council members David Oh and Helen Gym wanted a final vote on their resolution, calling for City Controller Alan Butkovitz to audit the Philadelphia Parking Authority for the first time since 2009. But Councilman Bill Greenlee motioned for his colleagues to stall that vote at least until they return in September. A majority agreed with him. Below the surface of the debate about the audit, which, like the new tax, is tied to funding for education, there is a nasty political fight being waged between Oh and the PPA. Oh, a Republican, and Gym, a Democrat, want to know what happened with PPA money that had been expected to fund the Philadelphia School District.
June 16, 2016 |
The city's Department of Human Services has halted the use of a ground-floor office at 1515 Arch St. to house children overnight. At a City Council hearing Tuesday, acting DHS Commissioner Jessica Shapiro said staff have worked diligently to place children with family, in emergency shelters, or group homes rather than having them sleep at DHS headquarters - a small step in improving a child welfare system slapped with dozens of violations in...
May 30, 2016 |
Philadelphia's long-troubled child welfare system is taking on water. Even as it struggles to improve its oversight of the city's most vulnerable children, its mission has been made more difficult by a swelling caseload. In just the last three years, Philadelphia's Department of Human Services has seen the number of children in its foster-care system grow from 4,100 to 6,100. The impact was evident in a state audit released this month that listed 71 violations by the department, the majority stemming from the strains on the system.
May 26, 2016 |
HARRISBURG - Thousands of callers to Pennsylvania's child-abuse hotline since 2014 hung up or were disconnected before ever reaching a caseworker, a state audit has found. During a review of the ChildLine hotline, the Auditor General's Office determined that 22 percent of the calls last year - nearly 42,000 - were unanswered, up from just 4 percent the year before. One caller in 2015 waited more than 50 minutes before getting to speak with a caseworker, and another stayed on hold for about 53 minutes before hanging up, according to the report.
April 15, 2016
THE CHARTER-SCHOOL system is supposed to provide quality alternatives to traditional public schools. Many individual schools do just that. Some don't, including four schools that the Philadelphia School District announced Thursday it is not recommending for renewals. But as a system, the network of charter schools around the state is structurally unsound. This observation is not new. But a new audit of the oversight of Philadelphia charters released this week by the auditor general's office illuminates just how broken the system is, with gaps in oversight and monitoring, as well as unfair and irresponsible practices from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.