Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. said today that deficiencies identified by federal auditors in the administration of several Department of Justice grants to the territory have been properly addressed.
Auditors from the Inspector General's office have concurred that all 25 issues they raised in a recently released Draft Audit Report concerning the Law Enforcement Planning Commission's (LEPC) management of Justice grants were resolved by the Virgin Islands government.
Between October 2005 and September 2010, the LEPC received 34 grants from the Office of Justice Programs totaling $14,383,254. In the same period, the Office of Violence Against Women awarded the territory six grants totaling $3,796,433.
In February, Governor de Jongh sent a letter to Ferris B. Polk, Regional Audit Manager, acknowledging past problems, informing him that all corrective actions recommended in the Inspector General's report have been implemented, and explaining that the process has greatly improved the LEPC's administration of its grants.
“This positive interaction has already increased the knowledge and competency level of its staff and will provide future training opportunities. As a result, compliance with grant guidelines, achievement of grant goals and objectives, and accountability will be greatly enhanced,” de Jongh wrote.
Among the “weaknesses” cited in the audit report were lack of adequate controls, staff limitations, and unaccounted funds. The LEPC has satisfactorily corrected all those problems with new procedures and accountability measures, de Jongh said.
“The issues presented are indeed of a critical nature, and I acknowledge the many contributions that have been made in our community as a result of DOJ grant funding,” de Jongh wrote to Polk.
The LEPC formally instituted policies and procedures in October of 2011 to address the management and administration of its grants, and to strengthen internal controls.
A Grant Management Policy and Procedure Manual documented those reforms, and was distributed to all staff members, as well as Inspector General auditors.
To further demonstrate its commitment to optimal management, the LEPC has submitted to the Inspector General's office addendums to the manual which enhance the controls needed to effectively manage funds sent to the territory.
The Law Enforcement Planning Commission is the local agency responsible for administering Department of Justice grants and overseeing implementation of grant programs that involve criminal justice matters in the territory.