P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 3, 2008
AUSTIN -- Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, reacted strongly today to Report Number 08-047 from the Office of State Auditor, detailing systemic breakdowns within the agencies managed by the Texas Health & Human Services Commission.
"These results are unacceptable and require an immediate response," said Senator Nelson, who will ask agency officials to discuss the audit's findings before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. The audit found that:
- 92 percent of supervisors hired between September 1, 2006, and March 31, 2008, had not completed one or more of the required training courses;
- 72 percent of employees sampled had no employee evaluation in their file;
- 1,229 terminated individuals continued to receive paychecks totaling $738,192;
- and the Commission does not consistently comply with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's requirement to verify citizenship.
"All agency employees should be properly screened and should comply with training requirements because many of them are caring for children, the elderly and our most vulnerable citizens," she said. "It is unimaginable that a terminated employee would continue to receive a paycheck or that someone could be placed on 'emergency' leave for a year while investigations of criminal background checks are taking place."
Senator Nelson announced last month that she is drafting legislation to overhaul the screening process for state health and human services direct care staff. Today she said she will expand that effort to address deficiencies found in this audit.