In response to yesterday’s post about the troubles in the Vermont Training Program, I got a nice call from Lucy Leriche, Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, which I believe I referred to as the Augean Stable of state government.
Well, nice to know somebody’s paying attention.
She made some good points, and some not-so-convincing points. Overall, I have to say my view of ACCD hasn’t changed much.
The #1 item she brought to my attention: “the reboot.”
The Vermont Training Program was overhauled in 2014. …The Auditor began his inquiry and report in 2015. What he had to work with was data from before the reboot. We have made a lot of changes, but the report is based on old information.
Hoffer’s response: he was aware of the reboot, and considered it in his report. His view: the reboot made some changes, but fell short in many ways. “It still relies on self-certifications [by applicants],” he wrote in an email. “The program should do some independent validation, as is recommended by the State’s Internal Control guidance. It’s a matter of adopting best practices in order to be accountable. These are taxpayer funds.”
Over to you, Ms. Leriche:
The Legislature made it clear they didn’t want us to build a big bureaucracy. They wanted as many dollars to go to grants as possible. If we did everything Doug Hoffer suggested, it would take at least one full-time person. That would take a lot of money away from grants.
Okay, let’s see here. They didn’t want “a big bureaucracy,” and following Hoffer’s suggestions would take “at least one full-time person.” That doesn’t sound like “a big bureaucracy” to me. It sounds more like a reasonable investment in protecting taxpayer funds.