Check county job training records for padding

June 11, 2013 

Did St. Clair County suspend a grants department whistleblower for 14 days as retaliation? Sorting that out will take time, but here's a straightforward question that the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity should answer immediately: Is the county padding its job training numbers?

If the suspended worker is correct, the county Intergovernmental Grants Department is inflating the numbers big time. She said that if reported properly, the number of people helped in a week would be about 100; instead the county is reporting about 400 a week.

Yikes, 100 versus 400? Which is it?

The state is amazingly uninterested in answering that question. A spokesman for Commerce and Economic Opportunity said that if the worker files a formal complaint, the department will investigate.

How ridiculous. The worker said she has talked about this with four state officials, and the complaint was included in a news story we published on Sunday. The state already has reason enough to investigate.

St. Clair County has received more than $18.5 million in federal money since 2009 to administer the jobs program in five counties. The state may not be curious to find out if the county is reporting accurately on how the money is being spent, but the taxpayers footing the bill definitely are.

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