Audit of Los Angeles Office of AIDS Programs and Policy Delayed Again
The release of the audit of Los Angeles County's Office of AIDS Programs and Policy has been delayed again, and the county Board of Supervisors has ordered that the report be turned in within two weeks, the Los Angeles Daily News reports (Rester, Los Angeles Daily News, 8/7). The supervisors had ordered an audit of OAPP in March amid questions about how the organization distributed approximately $80 million in state and federal money. The audit request stems from concerns that OAPP Director Chuck Henry had a "conflict of interest" because he also heads the department's HIV commission and determines how federal and state money is spent (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/2). Ron Hanson, health deputy for Supervisor Zev Yarolavsky, in February asked OAPP to provide a geographic breakdown of how funds were distributed to HIV/AIDS service providers. Then in March, Supervisors Michael Antonovich and Don Knabe filed a formal request to see whether their districts were being "ignored" by OAPP. Antonovich said that of the $8.2 million distributed to HIV/AIDS service providers in the county, less than 1% goes to providers in the Antelope Valley and 7% is distributed in the San Fernando Valley; however, 47% of the money is distributed "to one geographic area within Los Angeles County." Antonovich also noted that OAPP spends more than the national average for support of its planning council. Clint Trout, associate director for governmental affairs at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said that trying to track OAPP's expenditures is "confusing and ... frustrating," adding, "Someone really needs to look into what they're spending their money on. I wouldn't trust them to audit themselves." According to Frontiers magazine, AIDS advocates and others say that Henry has been "building 'an empire'" with the funding. They also say that he has increased staff by 30% while failing to fill vacancies in order to keep the budgeted money, created non-AIDS-specific units, hired "unnecessary personnel," allowed unchecked spending on furniture and trips for his staff, awarded capacity-building funding to "favored organizations" and tailored funding proposal requests "to benefit a pre-selected agency" (Ocamb, Frontiers, 8/16).
Turning in the Audit
A preliminary draft of the audit given to each of the Los Angeles County supervisors' health experts last Friday only shows an "updated" version of how the money should be spent, the Daily News reports. Knabe has asked that the county's chief administrative officer figure out how to correct the OAPP situation and ensure that the report will be submitted on time. In addition, Jonathan Fielding, director of public health for the city, said that he instructed OAPP to update data prior to completing the analysis to ensure that it "reflected the most recent trends in the epidemic" (Los Angeles Daily News, 8/7).