June 20, 2018
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Legislative panel delays action on probe that affirmed rampant problems at Maine CDC

By Lindsay Tice, Sun Journal

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Government Oversight Committee heard from the public Friday about a recent state investigation into the destruction of documents and possible grant funding manipulation by workers at the Maine Centers for Disease Control.

The Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability completed its review of the CDC this fall and presented its report to the Government Oversight Committee on Dec. 12.

OPEGA found a host of problems with the way the CDC distributed millions of dollars to Healthy Maine Partnerships programs last year, including supervisors who ordered the destruction of public documents, funding criteria that was changed during the selection process, Healthy Maine Partnerships funding scores that were changed just before the final selection, a $500,000 tribal contract that seemed to appear out of nowhere and a critical Healthy Maine Partnerships scoring sheet that has vanished.

About half a dozen people spoke to the Government Oversight Committee on Friday morning. Some were outraged by the investigation’s findings. Others said they had good dealings with the CDC and couldn’t believe the investigation’s findings were true.

The committee was scheduled to vote on the report and consider possible actions in light of the investigation’s findings. But members said they had too many questions and too many issues left to consider. They agreed to take up the report again at the next committee meeting on Jan. 24.

At that meeting, the committee could decide to introduce legislation to fix some of the problems OPEGA found, such as the lack of guidance around which public documents should be kept. It could also make its own recommendations to the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, though those recommendations would not have the force of law.

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