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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced an effort to enhance its financial processes, aiming to improve outdated protocols. According to the agency, HUD intends to:

  • Implement an agency-wide governance structure that allows for more oversight, transparency, monitoring and accountability;
  • Develop a plan to restore discipline and accountability in the financial and reporting systems across the agency.
  • Develop a holistic grant modernization plan to improve grant processes and reporting, including improved IT systems; and
  • Promote a HUD culture focused on documented and repeatable process with a focus on transparency and cost reasonableness.

“We simply need to do better,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in a statement. “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.”

Heading the initiative is HUD CFO Irving Dennis, who will devise plans and supervise a taskforce. According to an agency release, Dennis’ duties include establishing “new processes and controls, empower[ing] employees, and strengthen[ing] compliance and enforcement-related functions at HUD.”

“These new internal controls and management practices must be embedded into our organization to help prevent misuse and misappropriation of assets,” said Dennis. “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.'”

The announcement comes after the agency’s confirmation that it is considering changing its mission statement, eliminating “free from discrimination” from the text. Additionally, the announcement coincides with controversy: Carson bought—and later, cancelled—a $31,000 dining set for HUD’s executive dining room. Emails have since been made public that suggest Carson and his wife selected the set, despite Carson denying involvement in the purchase.

Stay tuned to RISMedia for more developments.

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