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Inspector General: Proposed Budget Will Maintain "Status Quo"

While stressing the need for more funding in the future, V.I. Inspector General Steven van Beverhoudt told senators Thursday that the $1.6 million General Fund budget recommended for fiscal year 2011 will maintain the "status quo" by meeting his agency’s "basic needs."
Van Beverhoudt’s testimony before the Senate’s Budget and Appropriations Committee was short and sweet, and similar to that of past years, where he has consistently said the Inspector General’s Office has continued to make do with less. This time around, the cut is $150,992 over this year’s budget, which van Beverhoudt said would cover 16 filled employee positions and one vacant investigator slot.
While van Beverhoudt acknowledged that the proposed 2011 budget would maintain the status quo, he added that "the current resources of auditors and investigators are inadequate" for an office tasked with overseeing a government with a $1 billion-plus budget.
Van Beverhoudt explained that more funding is going to be needed in the long run if the office is going to meet its mandate — at the current staff level, only three large audits can be conducted at any given time, and each takes about six months to complete. To make up for a shortage of staff, the remedy has been to conduct joint audits and investigations with federal agencies, he added.
"These joint efforts, however, are only temporary fixes to the overall issue of limited resources," he said. "I strongly believe that as Virgin Islanders, we should deal with our own issues on a local level."
The agency’s proposed budget includes: a little more than $1 million for personnel services, $330,910 for associated fringe benefits, $58,000 for supplies, $148,308 for other services and charges and $38,400 for utilities.
Ongoing audits slated for completion by the end of 2010 or early 2011 will look at the Education Initiative Fund, administrative functions of both the V.I. Lottery and V.I. Legislature, internal controls over the handling of federal stimulus funds, and administrative activities of the V.I. Economic Development Authority.
Present during Thursday’s hearing were Sens. Carlton "Ital" Dowe, Wayne James, Terrence "Positive" Nelson, Usie R. Richards, Sammuel Sanes and Patrick Simeon Sprauve.

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