Federal officials have assessed Indiana's human services agency $1.2 million for too many mistakes in food stamps last year.
The U.S. Food and Nutrition service sent a letter Thursday to Secretary Anne Murphy of the Family and Social Services Administration telling her FSSA either paid too much or too little food stamps in 7.1 percent of cases. The national average was 4.4 percent.
FNS sent a bill to the state for the $1.2 million, but tells Murphy she can opt to invest half of the amount, about $600,000, in improving food stamp performance and get a credit for the other half if FSSA improves enough next year.
Spokesman Marcus Barlow says FSSA will try to recover the money in its lawsuit against the fired welfare intake contractor IBM Corp.
As I've reported here before, this is hardly the first time the State of Indiana looks to lose money from Daniels' $1.16 billion sweetheart deal with IBM to privatize the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA). Indiana is suing IBM in part because the company billed the state $125 million for unpaid expenses, after having thoroughly screwed up services like Medicaid and food stamps for thousands of Hoosiers.
Suing IBM — ""for breach of contract and unjust enrichment associated with the company's contract to fix the state of Indiana's broken welfare system" as the administration somewhat underhandedly puts it — is the right thing to do, and I hope the state succeeds, thereby cleaning up at least part of its own mess.
But this latest bill from the Feds is probably inescapable. And, once again, it elicits a sharp reminder of how wrong this deal was and continues to be.
Indiana is still subcontracting to Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), an IBM partner in the Daniels deal and key player in making this mess. Mitch Roob, current secretary of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, was head of FSSA at the time of the deal, and is a former executive at ACS.
If Anne Murphy reinvests half of what we owe the feds, as suggested above, some of that money will go straight back to the company that's profited from the no-bid, backroom deal that put Roob's buddies at ACS in charge of processing — and botching — certain FSSA services.
We need to keep looking at that ACS / Roob connection, and we need to quit spending money on a failed program.
A public service message from the Indy's Fire Department: "Do not drive over hose lines. By doing so you are putting firefighter's lives at even further risk by potentially cutting off their water supply to attack the fire."