This week, Governor Justice’s Chief of Staff, Nick Casey, issued the following statement:
“At the Governor’s direction, we are thoroughly reviewing the circumstances that led to the delay of the final completion and filing of the State’s single audit for the last three years to find out exactly who is responsible. It’s become obvious that there is a systemic bottleneck that got in the way of a timely audit being filed for 2014, 2015, and 2016. The Justice Administration intends to break that log jam so this never happens again.
“Just after the Governor took office this January, Secretary John Myers and myself made it clear that missing this major deadline again would be a disaster. Even then, however, it was already too late since earlier audit benchmarks from as far back as October were not met on time.
“We will provide a detailed analysis of exactly what went wrong to the people of West Virginia immediately upon completion of our review. In the meantime, we are also developing options to shield students from any negative impacts this situation may have caused.”
What We Know:
It’s clear that many state entities failed to hit the deadlines established for the last three years to get their financial information to the Department of Administration so it would be available to the State’s outside audit firm. It’s also now clear that individuals with a serious fiduciary responsibility to the State and their respective agencies failed to adhere to applicable internal deadlines.
The Governor’s office is focused on determining accountability for the repeatedly late filings, and minimizing how much damage the decision by the United States Department of Education will cause for each state institution. Continuing inquiries are being made by the Governor’s staff as to the agencies involved.
We are working to better understand the effects of these penalties and how they can be mitigated.
We believe that in August 2017 funds will be made available to each institution in advance, in a timely manner, by the State Budget Office for a brief period of time (not to exceed 14 days) to handle student loans for the Fall semester. This will also minimize cash-flow problems for the colleges, universities and community and technical colleges. This action will alleviate financial concerns for our students for the upcoming school year and allow us time to complete our research and take necessary actions.