The state’s chief fiscal officer says he has asked for federal monitoring of the Employment Security Commission’s accounting for federal stimulus money.Comptroller Richard Eckstrom told fellow cabinet members this morning that his concerns about the ESC’s management of federal stimulus money were enough to notify the Department of Labor and the FBI.
“In monitoring the situation at the ESC, we are not at all comfortable with their ability to properly account for the stimulus funds that they are receiving. We are not suggesting that any of those funds are mising, but they are not able to account for them separately, to indentify those dollars that have come in,” says Eckstrom.
Eckstrom says that the agency got at least $43 million that he says they “misclassified.” as some other funding source. Another program, the emergency unemployment benefits extension funds, he says, “involves hundreds of millions of dollars and we really don’t know how many dollars have been involved because the agency has not been able to give us that information.”
(Selection of Eckstrom interview, MP3 1:30)
Eckstrom and the cabinet met with Governor Mark Sanford Tuesday. He is charged by the governor and legislature to oversee and report stimulus fund accounting. Eckstrom says the ESC needs to bring in professional accountants and that if the agency heads are too reluctant to bring in outside help, he says the legislature “must look at bringing in new management.”
The state Senate has an ESC restructuring bill coming up on the calendar, and Aiken Senator greg Ryberg said on the Senate floor last week, that “I don’t think we have the luxury of putting this off any longer.”