News Story

Auditor’s office repeatedly finds evidence of poor performance in state agencies

The office is slated for a budget cut

Gov. Whitmer’s recent budget proposal, which could mean a significant funding cut for the Office of the Auditor General, could imperil the work of an agency that has in recent years found significant shortcomings in state government operations.

In January 2022, the OAG discovered 2,386 more COVID-19 deaths attributable to long-term care facilities than the state reported. The governor had put COVID-infected patients into long-term care facilities, exposing vulnerable populations to the disease.

In November 2021, the OAG found that the Unemployment Insurance Agency overpaid $3.9 billion in claims.

In January 2023, the OAG estimated that the same agency paid out $10.2 billion in pandemic unemployment assistance based on invalid eligibility criteria. It also found that the agency knew it had paid at least $3.3 billion in overpayments to individuals who had not lost their jobs, but it declined to take timely action to prevent further overpayments.

In April 2022, the OAG found that the Michigan Department of Transportation had over many years, consistently underestimated the costs for various projects. MDOT, the auditor’s office reported, underestimated the cost in 20 cases by at least 10%. This investigation covered 2017 to 2020.

In June 2023, the OAG found that 4% of all school contract employees are never fingerprinted and 7% were not fingerprinted in a timely fashion. Schools use fingerprints to make sure prospective employees do not have a criminal background that might disqualify them from employment. The auditor criticized the Michigan Department of Education, saying it lacked procedures for making sure school districts comply with the law.

In August 2023, the OAG found the state was taking too long in responding to disciplinary complaints about licensed cannabis businesses. The Cannabis Regulatory Agency took an average of 96 days to resolve 123 formal complaints, with one case extending 757 days. The regulatory agency had a backlog of 555 formal complaints, which had been open for an average of 259 days.

In August 2023, the OAG reported that the Department of Civil Rights took an average of 19 months to investigate complaints of civil rights violations. Its goal is to finish investigations within six months.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.