The Village Voice has a good summary of what Gerald Walpin found wrong with the AmeriCorps program run by the City University of New York. An excerpt:
Walpin’s audit [pdf] found that the program could not prove it was doing criminal background checks, had taken more money than it was due, didn’t follow certain Americorps rules, failed to regularly file required forms, and did some sloppy record-keeping.
In all, Walpin questioned awards to the program of $16.1 million and $773,000, mostly on administrative grounds. He also says the government should stop the program and recover $75 million spent over the past six years.
CUNY pledged to make changes, according to the audit, but didn’t go all the way. It also refused to return any money, and defended its policy of accepting background checks supplied by the city Department of Education. The Corporation for National and Community Service — the official name of the agency Walpin oversees — refused to ask for any of the money back from CUNY.
In a letter [pdf] to CUNY president Matthew Goldstein, Walpin in essence says that the money CUNY gets from Americorps is redundant. Basically, CUNY doesn’t need it:
“The program doesn’t work because it adds no service to the community which is not already provided by the Fellows program,” Walpin writes. “Therefore, taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth. The [government] could accomplish its goals more effectively if the funds for these grants were used . . . in communities where the need exists.”
And what exactly is wrong with trying to get the AmeriCorps money to those who really need it?