At the January 14 Alachua County Commission meeting, the commission heard an update on the ongoing situation at CareerSource of North Central Florida (CSNCF or “the board”), amended the working capital agreement, and approved a forensic audit of CSNCF.
Assistant County Manager Tommy Crosby briefly walked through the timeline that brought the county and CSNCF to this point: CSNCF received a letter on September 27 from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), notifying them that the state had issues with some of their practices and putting the board on a cost reimbursement basis. Specifically, the state objected to the board’s long-standing practice of contracting with a company to provide Administrative Entity (AE) services instead of directly hiring staff to do that work. Because the state never approved any invoices from the AE company, Focused Management Solutions (FMS), after September 27, FMS notified CSNCF on November 21 that they would stop providing services on December 6.
The local workforce board covers both Alachua and Bradford Counties, so the two counties must jointly decide how to move forward. In December, the interlocal agreement between the two counties was amended to give Alachua County the power to make administrative and financial decisions for the workforce board.
On December 13, the contract with FMS was terminated, beginning a 30-day close-out period. On December 14, the workforce board from District 10 began assisting CSNCF with administrative services through a DEO grant. The state released its monitoring report on December 20, and CSNCF must respond with corrective actions within 45 days (the intent is to respond to what they can and request more time for the rest).
As part of ending the contract with CSNCF, FMS laid off 11 employees. CSNCF has contracted with 4 of them through Dynamic Workforce Solutions, the contractor that runs the CareerSource office. District 10 will continue to be on-site through January 31, and the commission discussed extending that date to at least June 30. District 8 is assisting with IT services to collect data about program participants. Also, James Moore & Co. has declined to continue providing accounting services to the board.
Action was needed today because the agreement that was approved in December to provide working capital to the board only allowed for deposits from the DEO, but there is also a need to allow deposits from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL). The commission also decided to order a forensic audit of CSNCF, covering the same 3-year period as the monitoring report. Since the only funds available to CSNCF are grants that specify where the funds can be spent, the forensic audit must be done with county funds.
CSNCF has also been notified that the USDOL is scheduled to conduct a Targeted Program Compliance and Assistance Review, which will include a review of CSNCF.
Crosby laid out plans that included contracting with a temporary CFO, an accounting service, and data-collection services by January 28. A decision on vacant board seats (there are four) should also be made by January 28. The Alachua County Commission should decide on a new workforce model to present to the Bradford County Commission by February 11. They would like to agree on the model and enter an interlocal agreement with Bradford County by March 24, then the new model will be implemented between April and June.