On Thursday, HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson announced new measures to protect the financial integrity of the department.
"We simply need to do better. An updated system of internal controls will provide our agency with greater certainty that the dollars we spend are spent in a manner that satisfies all laws and regulations, and most importantly, the American people. We will approach this as any business would by increasing transparency and accountability. In the end, we will also support a culture that respects the fact that HUD funds belong to the public," said Carson.
According to Carson, these changes will work toward correcting lax internal processes and controls and the Department. Carson tasked HUD’s newly appointed CFO, Irving Dennis, to put together a plan and an internal task force focused on combating waste, fraud, and abuse.
A former partner at Ernst & Young, Dennis said, "I’m excited to apply a business acumen to a task that is necessary for us as an agency. These new internal controls and management practices must be embedded into our organization to help prevent misuse and misappropriation of assets. The goal is to create more robust processes and systems of checks and balances to ensure our expenditures not only meet all of our requirements but pass a common sense ‘smell test.’”
HUD's media statement breaks down the proposed changes into four areas of focus:
- Agency-wide Governance: Implementing an Agency-wide governance structure that allows for more oversight, transparency, monitoring, and accountability;
- Finance Transformation: Developing a plan to restore discipline and accountability in the financial and reporting systems across the Agency.
- Grant Modernization: Developing a holistic grant modernization plan to improve grant processes and reporting, including improved IT systems.
- Process Improvement: Promoting a HUD culture focused on documented and repeatable process with a focus on transparency and cost reasonableness.
HUD’s media statement also notes that the Office of the CFO is working with HUD's Office of the General Counsel to review processes throughout the department "to ensure HUD is within all guidelines and utilizing resources effectively."