What does Susan Combs do all day? The comptroller’s office has just been hit by its second terrible revelation in two years, a fraudulent scheme by an employee to direct $2 million in federal stimulus money to a wind energy company. What does comptroller Combs have to say about this? Nothing. Instead, we get an unsigned written statement from the comproller’s office saying, “We are extremely concerned about the facts uncovered in the investigation that are in court documents regarding the city, CM Energies and our former employee.” Where is the comptroller? Why does she hide behind a bureaucratic statement? This is nothing new, of course. She hid from public view during the data breach scandal that previously hit her agency. I suggested during the data breach scandal that the Legislature should investigate Combs’ management of her agency. Nothing happened, of course (not that I expected it to). Now the agency may have been hoodwinked out of $2 million in stimulus funds. Wouldn’t it behoove somebody–the governor? the speaker? the lieutenant governor? the LBB? the state auditor?–to determine whether Ms. Combs has in place control systems that might prevent these sorts of disasters from happening? True to form, the comptroller’s office released another anonymous statement: “We require an applicant conduct proper due diligence on its subcontractors and sign affidavits stating the facts in the application are accurate.” “The City of Jonestown did not ever contact us during the application process or since its approval with any concerns upon which the grant was based,” the agency said.
At the very least, Ms. Combs should have the fortitude and the sense of responsibility to step forward and address the management issues that her agency faces. Two scandals in two years is not a good batting average. She should spend a little less time trying to decide what office to run for and a little more time managing her agency.
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