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American Recovery and Reinvestment Coordinating Council Report
State Auditor and Inspector - March 24, 2009
In order to ensure ARRA funds are spent in accordance with federal requirements, the State Auditor's Office is currently on-site at some agencies performing "real-time" auditing on the bidding and awarding process and will soon be in most agencies that are receiving ARRA funds. The office has several projects underway to ensure the state's compliance with the ARRA.
I have met with working groups for the Regents for Higher Education and the Secretaries of Environment, Energy, and Agriculture. In the corning weeks, I plan to meet with working groups for the Secretary of Commerce and Tourism, the OUHSC Foundation, and others as requested. My points of emphasis are risk assessment preparation, control environment and internal control structure evaluation, and transaction documentation and evaluation, all to ensure compliance with the ARRA.
A Federal Stimulus Questionnaire has been created regarding the ARRA funds each agency is to receive. The questionnaire asks agencies which of their federal programs will be receiving the funds, how much they anticipate expending, what the internal control structure will be for the funds, whether the agency will be passing through funds to subrecipients, and how the funds will be separately accounted for and monitored. The State Auditor's Office will be meeting with agency heads and finance personnel to complete the questionnaire.
Additionally, an entity assurance letter has been drafted requiring entity heads to make certain assurances to the Governor. These assurances include that funds are spent in accordance with the ARRA and that the same assurances are made for any funds passed through to subrecipients.
I am also preparing to provide information and guidance on transparency and accountability reporting expectations through town hall type seminars at seven regionally located Career Tech campuses across the state. The seminars will be scheduled upon receipt of ARRA reporting requirements and regulations from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). I plan to conduct the initial seminars myself, but I will have office staff ready and available to conduct any seminar if I cannot be there personally. If subsequent seminars become necessary, I will likely utilize the State Department of Career Technology's long-distance learning facility in Stillwater to provide information via video link to Career Tech facilities in Oklahoma City, Ponca City, Woodward, Lawton, Ardmore, McAlester and Tulsa. All public entities receiving ARRA moneys will be invited and encouraged to attend through media announcements and postings on the ARRA Web sites.
Office personnel have been gathering information on the ARRA act through Webinars and audio conferences with the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers (NASACT); U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO); U.S. Inspector General (010); and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services(HHS). Staff has also been in discussion with the Inspector General's Office for the Department of Health and Human Services regarding new audit issues related to the ARRA funds. The State Auditor and Inspector's Web page contains links to both the Oklahoma and U.S. recovery Web sites.
There are increased audit responsibilities resulting from the ARRA. Will there be funding for the State Auditor's Office? The State Auditor's Office will need additional staff to fulfill these increased responsibilities.