by Max Brantley
Governor Asa Hutchinson has issued an Executive Order making the Department of Finance and Administration the host agency for the Developmental Disabilities Council. The move comes after a letter from the federal Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) and the Administration for Community Living Office of Grants Management (OGM) classified the Developmental Disabilities Council as high risk due to a “history of poor performance.”
Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:
“Based upon information we received from the federal managers, these are problems that predate the current leadership. I am asking Director Eric Munson to work with DFA to ensure that we make the changes that are federally required. I remain firmly committed to the mission of the Council in advocating for the disability community.”
Developmental Disabilities Council Director Eric Munson issued the following statement:
“There are more than 125,000 Arkansans with developmental disabilities. DFA has the structural capacity to assist the Council in administering a federal grant program like ours. I look forward to working with them to make sure that we are responsible and accountable with the federal funds we receive while being in compliance with the guidelines of the DD Act.”
The Governor has the utmost confidence in Tracy Steele. Tracy continues to work toward improving efficiencies at HSPA in an effort to make government more accountable moving forward.
The Feds letter dealt specifically with the grant process at DDC, and since DFA has more experience with grants – and overall better resources than HSPA – this move made the most sense.
"ongoing, systemic compliance issues and other problems in programmatic and fiscal operations including: governance, fiscal management, use of federal dollars, federal reporting, state plan implementation, monitoring of Council activities, membership, accommodations for individuals with developmental disabilities, orientation and training for DD Council members, and orientation and training for DD Council staff. In addition, AIDD is concerned about the Council’s ability to independently and proactively determine the necessary strategies and activities to effectively address the issues. .... AIDD is concerned that the staffing level is not adequate to sufficiently implement activities to address the issues and move the Arkansas Council closer towards full compliance.