What the state Homeland Security Department needs to do

As we wrote in a story published earlier today, the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management just submitted its 2016 audit to the Office of the State Auditor. That audit hasn’t yet been released publicly, and that may take weeks or months. In the department’s 2015 audit, turned in nearly a year late, auditors found 19 significant problems and noted that “little progress” was made in passing through FEMA money to local governments and tribes. That audit also appears to show that staff leadership was either unwilling or unable to share the information accountants needed to understand what’s happening with its finances and grants. The independent auditors, for example, couldn’t say with certainty whether the agency’s financial records were reliable, and instead had to give the Auditor’s Office what’s called a “disclaimer of opinion.”
Related story: Homeland Insecurity: How ready is New Mexico for when disaster strikes? Here are some of the recommendations auditors offered the department in the 2015 audit.