We audited the Palm Beach County Housing Authority in West Palm Beach, FL, based on concerns raised by news articles stating that the Authority dismissed its former executive director because of financial misconduct and ethical violations. The concerns included bonuses paid and payments for contracted services. Our audit objective was to determine whether the Authority spent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds for eligible program purposes and sufficiently supported its expenditures, focusing specifically on executive and employee compensation and expenditures for contract services. The audit is consistent with our strategic goal to ensure the integrity of and accountability for program funds.
The Authority did not support and spend HUD funds in accordance with Federal regulations. It did not ensure that Sections 8 and 9 funds were not used to pay for executive compensation exceeding the salary limit. The excess payment was caused by the Authority’s improper classification of funds from two accounts as non-Sections 8 and 9 and then using those funds to pay for executive compensation. In addition, expenditures to one contractor were not eligible. The ineligible payment was caused by the Authority’s not having written policies and procedures to prevent such payments from occurring. These deficiencies resulted in $67,377 in questioned costs.
We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Miami Office of Public Housing require the Authority to (1) reimburse its program for the $62,377 from non-Federal funds, (2) reimburse the U.S. Treasury $5,000 from non-Federal funds for the ineligible payments made, and (3) develop and implement written policies and procedures to ensure that Sections 8 and 9 funds are not used to pay for excess executive compensation and to provide detailed guidance to its staff on the payment review process.