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We audited the Weslaco Housing Authority, Weslaco, TX, because of issues noted in the Authority’s travel while reviewing its independent public accountant’s audited financial statements.  Our audit objective was to determine whether the Authority complied with Federal, State, and local requirements for its travel payments.

The Authority paid its commissioners and employees for ineligible, unreasonable, unnecessary, and unsupported travel costs.  This condition occurred because the Authority lacked controls and oversight, its staff was intimidated and did not question travelers’ costs, and travelers did not understand or disregarded the requirements.  As a result, the Authority paid a total of $23,138 in questioned travel costs.

We recommend that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Public Housing require the Authority to support or repay questioned costs totaling $23,138.  We also recommend the Authority adopt travel policies and procedures that comply with Federal, State, and local requirements.  In addition, we recommend that the Departmental Enforcement Center take appropriate administrative sanctions and seek civil money penalties against the commissioners.

Recommendation Status Date Issued Summary
2017-FW-1008-001-A Cerrado Junio 28, 2017 We recommend that the Director of the San Antonio Office of Public Housing require the Authority to repay from non-Federal funds $11,172 paid for ineligible travel costs of which $6,904 was Housing Choice Voucher and $4,268 was operating subsidy funds.
2017-FW-1008-001-B Cerrado Junio 28, 2017 We recommend that the Director of the San Antonio Office of Public Housing require the Authority to repay from non-Federal funds $2,946 paid for excessive lodging rates, extra trip days, and car rental costs of which $1,214 was Housing Choice Voucher and $1,732 was operating subsidy funds.
2017-FW-1008-001-C Cerrado Junio 28, 2017 We recommend that the Director of the San Antonio Office of Public Housing require the Authority to support or repay its HUD programs from non-Federal funds $9,020 for unsupported meals, incidental expenses, lodging costs, and travel for training of which $2,978 was Housing Choice Voucher and $6,041 was operating subsidy funds.
2017-FW-1008-001-D Cerrado Junio 28, 2017 We recommend that the Director of the San Antonio Office of Public Housing require the Authority to adopt policies and procedures that contain current Federal and State guidance.
2017-FW-1008-001-E Cerrado Junio 28, 2017 We recommend that the Director of the San Antonio Office of Public Housing require the Authority to provide training to commissioners and employees on travel requirements and their responsibilities and duties.
2017-FW-1008-001-F Cerrado Junio 28, 2017 Take appropriate administrative sanctions, including suspension, limited denial of participation, or debarment, against the commissioners.