A new state audit raises more questions about past management of the Iowa Workforce Development agency.State Auditor Dave Vaudt says a review of the way the agency redesigned the Unemployment Insurance Tax system raises concerns.
For example, one of the Iowa Workforce Development agency administrators involved in the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium scandal outsourced some of the work to that agency — known as CIETC.
“There’s actually a finding in our report here where IWD actually contracted with CIETC to get some I.T. done,” Vaudt says. “But it was primarily done to circumvent some of the hiring procedures that needs to take place.”
Jane Barto, the former deputy director the Iowa Workforce Development agency, was charged with conspiracy and obstruction in connection to the CIETC scandal. Top CIETC managers received lavish salaries and bonuses and a few have been sent to jail. Barto was convicted on a misdemeanor charge.
Vaudt says Barto was involved in this Unemployment Insurance Tax project. The new audit does not list the names of those who Iowa Workforce Development administrators wanted CIETC to hire for the project, but the audit does question why CIETC was involved.
“I don’t know for sure as far as who the individuals were, but the individuals that were hired were identified by Iowa Workforce Development to be hired to do the work,” Vaudt says. “And it was interesting because CIETC really was not in the business of providing any type of I.T. development assistance. They are a workforce training agency, not an information technology consulting service.”
The audit from Vaudt’s office reviewed records from July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2009 to gauge the agency’s project to update a 40-year-old system for businesses to report unemployment taxes. Barto and Iowa Workforce Development director Richard Running resigned after questions were first raised about the salaries paid to CIETC managers. Vaudt says recent activity on the project to update the Unemployment Tax reporting system seems to be on the up-and-up.
“Once a decision was made to work with the State of Minnesota to utilize their system and adapt it to Iowa, I think decisions are being made more properly today,” Vaudt says, “and being better documented.”
Vaudt says in its early stages of the project there was a lack of documentation and it was hard to determine whether administrators were complying with the law.