Administrative and Financial Management Weaknesses in the Office of Youth Opportunity Services

GGD-76-92: Published: Aug 5, 1976. Publicly Released: Feb 19, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reported on financial management weaknesses in the District of Columbia's Office of Youth Opportunity Services. GAO reported on problems in a program which provides employment opportunities for young people during the summer and is financed by funds appropriated for the District and by Federal grant funds. In addition, GAO reported on problems in the administration of other programs sponsored by the office, free of charge for District youths. These programs include medical, dental, legal, and counseling services; recreational activities; and schooling.

GAO found that the office failed to ensure that: the youths selected in the summer employment program were eligible or that the funds were controlled to ensure that they were spent in accordance with prescribed laws, policies, regulations and procedures. The office failed to do this by: (1) knowingly accepting ineligible youths into the program and misapplying $1.3 million of the 1974 program funds; (2) holding thousands of unclaimed paychecks for extended periods of time instead of returning them to central accounting for cancellation; (3) not maintaining orderly files to permit verification of the propriety of payments to youths in the program; and (4) altering time and attendance records to allow the payment of several youths for more hours than they actually worked. In addition, GAO found that the office administered the finances of its other activities poorly in that it: (1) overobligated appropriated funds totaling $30,000 and $132,000 during fiscal years 1973 and 1974, respectively; (2) did not effectively control the use of grant funds received from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and the Department of Labor and used part of the funds from each for unauthorized purposes; and (3) had 48 permanent positions filed in fiscal year 1974, although Congress had authorized only 28.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia should establish an effective financial management system for Office activities that will ensure that:(1) obligations be incurred only for authorized purposes and only after the funding authority has been received; (2) accurate time and attendance reports be prepared and properly certified to ensure that persons are paid only for hours worked; (3) only eligible youths be enrolled in the summer employment programs; (4) accurate and properly prepared documents be maintained and appropriately filed to support all payments; (5) necessary deductions, such as for Federal Insurance Contribution Act taxes, be made from payment vouchers and checks prepared for correct amounts; (6) the practice of using grant funds for one purpose and later switching those charges to other available funds be discontinued; (7) funds not be used for permanent positions that have not been authorized by Congress; and (8) overobligations of appropriated funds be reported immediately to the President and to Congress with a statement of the action taken as required by 31 U.S.C. 665. In addition, the Mayor should require the Office of Municipal Audits and Inspection to periodically review Office of Youth Opportunity Services activities to ascertain that the financial policies and procedures are adhered to and that appropriate administrative measures are taken if violations occur.

    Agency Affected:

 

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