Ombudsman for Mental Health and Mental Retardation
July 1, 1997, through June 30, 2000
Key Findings and Recommendations:
- The Office of the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Mental Retardation did not adequately separate certain payroll duties. Two administrative office employees have full access to input personnel records and time worked into the payroll system. If the office needs to allow both employees access for backup purposes, it should establish and document mitigating controls, such as independent review of payroll reports.
- The office overpaid a former employee $2,006 in mileage reimbursement. The office should work with the Attorney General to recover the overpayment. It should review all employee reimbursement claims to ensure that employees claim the correct mileage reimbursements.
- The office did not comply with applicable legal provisions when paying one contractor. The office should not allow work to begin before the contract is completed and signed. The office should review all contractor invoices to ensure that all expenses claimed relate to the contract.
- The office incorrectly coded some occurrence dates in the accounting system. The occurrence date is the date the goods or services were received and the office incurred the liability. The office should ensure that it uses the correct occurrence dates when entering disbursement transactions.
- The office did not adequately document its review and approval of invoices before payment. The office should ensure proper review and approval, including a comparison of invoices to the related contract terms, if applicable.
- The office did not properly administer the financial terms of its interagency agreements with the Department of Human Services for the Demonstration Project for Persons with Disabilities. It should work with the Department of Human Services to resolve the remaining issues relating to the interagency agreements.
The Office of the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Mental Retardation is an independent agency created by the Legislature in 1987. It has a broad mandate to "promote the highest attainable standards of treatment, competence, efficiency, and justice.for persons receiving services or treatment for mental illness, mental retardation or a related condition, chemical dependency, or emotional disturbance." The office consists of a central office in St. Paul, offices in Duluth and Cambridge, and regional offices located at the Regional Treatment Centers in Anoka, Brainerd, Fergus Falls, St. Peter, and Willmar. Each regional office has an advocate available to assist clients and others.