HOME
. . .
STRATEGIC PLAN
WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION
NEWS STAND
REPORTS
. . .
CLOSED INVESTIGATIONS
AUDIT REPORTS
SEMI-ANNUAL REPORTS
MANAGEMENT ALERT
OPERATIONS
. . .
AUDITS
INVESTIGATIONS
ABOUT
. . .
PLAIN WRITING ACT
MEET THE STAFF
CONTACT US
. . .
EMPLOYMENT / CAREER
PRIVACY POLICY
HOTLINE

News Stand


Whenever the OIG makes news, we will offer the articles and links on this page.

NEWS

Stories are posted newest first.

CNCS Needs to Strengthen its Organization-wide Information Security Program
2017-12-18

The  Corporation  for  National  and  Community  Service  (CNCS)  has  devoted  significant resources to improving cybersecurity over the past few years, with meaningful progress.  Its information security program is approaching effectiveness, though it is not yet sufficiently mature.  With continued effort and investment, CNCS can reach that milestone soon.

Achieving effectiveness will require attention to weaknesses that pose significant risks to information  security.  Our 2017 evaluation  found  inadequacies  in  risk  management, configuration  management, identity and access  management,   information   security continuous monitoring, and contingency planning.  Enforcement of information security is inconsistent across the enterprise, with field components remaining especially vulnerable.

The FISMA evaluation requires us to assess objectively the maturity of five functional areas in CNCS’s information security program. To be considered effective, an agency must be rated Managed and Measurable (Level 4) on a five-point scale from Ad hoc (Level 1) to Optimized (Level 5). CNCS did not reach that level. Four of the five functional areas at CNCS achieved a maturity level of Defined (Level 2).  One function, Respond, was found to be Consistently Implemented (Level 3).

FISMA also permits evaluators to rate judgmentally the effectiveness of seven components (“domains”) of the Cybersecurity Framework. The evaluators   concluded that, notwithstanding the maturity ratings, CNCS’s cybersecurity was effective in the areas of security training and incident response.

The chart in the attachment aggregates the subjective and objective results.  Taking them together, we conclude that information security at CNCS has not yet achieved an effective level.  These results  are  consistent  with  the  continuing vulnerabilities  that  we  observed,  which  leave CNCS operations and assets at risk of unauthorized access, misuse and disruption. This report offers 34 recommendations to assist CNCS in strengthening its information security program.  Eight of these relate to prior findings that have not been completely addressed by CNCS.

[READ MORE]
Special Review: Prohibited Activities: Missed Opportunities, Red Flags Ignored and Next Steps to Improve Grants Management at CNCS
2016-12-22


In April 2016, the Office of Inspector General, Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS-OIG) reported that the National Association of Community Health Clinics (NACHC), an AmeriCorps grantee, allowed a few AmeriCorps members serving at one of its subgrantees, the Institute for Family Health (IFH), to provide emotional support to women during abortion procedures. The Federal statute authorizing the AmeriCorps Program expressly forbids the use of AmeriCorps resources to provide abortion services or referrals for receipt of such services.
 
Our investigation focused on the conduct of the grantee, subgrantee and AmeriCorps members. This report discusses points at which the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS or the Corporation) could have, but did not, reduce, prevent or detect the prohibited activities  that occurred. These observations concerning CNCS do not absolve NACHC of its responsibility for violating the law or mitigate its conduct. But they do suggest actions that are long overdue at CNCS to detect any similar activities and avert future violations.

[READ MORE]
Despite Progress, Weaknesses Persist in Information Security and Privacy at CNCS
2016-12-22

The Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation or CNCS) has made significant progress in addressing the information security and privacy weaknesses identified in last year’s Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA) evaluation, resolving eight of 17 findings from FY 2015 and closing 67 of 90 recommendations open from prior years. CNCS has improved and updated its policies and procedures for key security program areas, e.g., information security continuous monitoring (ISCM), risk management and Plan of Action and Milestones (POA&M) management. It has also entered into new service level agreements with the information technology (IT) contractor that manages the Corporation’s desktops, servers and network infrastructure. These improvements led evaluators to reduce the severity of two previous program weaknesses from Significant Deficiencies to Control Deficiencies. Evaluators determined that the Corporation implemented improvements to close all seven recommendations related to privacy controls for protection of personally identifiable information (PII).

[READ MORE]
FY 2017 Management Challenges
2016-12-07

 
This report identifies management and performance challenges facing the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS or the Corporation). We selected these challenges by considering past and ongoing audit, review and investigative work, as well as discussions with CNCS management regarding existing vulnerabilities. We also considered new activities that could pose challenges because of their breadth and complexity.  
 
The FY 2017 management challenges are:  
 
1. Strengthening Grant Oversight and Monitoring  
2. Protecting the Communities We Serve with Thorough Criminal History Checks and Prevention Measures  
3. Reducing Improper Payments  
4. Securing Information Systems and Modernizing Information Technology  
5. Rethinking the Fundamentals to Support National Service

[READ MORE]
Demanding Accountability at the Corporation for National and Community Service
2016-09-07

       
House of Representatives
Education and the Workforce Committee
Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training
 
Hearing – “Demanding Accountability at the Corporation for National and Community Service”
 
Inspector General Deborah Jeffrey testifies before the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training.
 
Here is the link   Deborah Jeffrey Testimony


 

[READ MORE]
Report on the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Covered Systems under the 2015 Cybersecurity Act
2016-08-18

The Cybersecurity Act of 2015, Sec 406 requires Inspectors General of agencies with covered systems to submit to the appropriate committees of jurisdiction in the Senate and the House of Representatives a report on agency policies, practices, and controls related to logical access and security management. The statute also calls for a determination whether the logical access policies and practices meet appropriate standards.

Based on the information that the Corporation provided, we conclude that its policies and  practices  for  logical  access  to  covered  systems  generally  reflect  appropriate standards, though there remain opportunities to strengthen these protections.  We did not verify or test the effectiveness of CNCS’s access controls in preventing incursions by unauthorized users.

Additional information bearing on security measures will be addressed in our forthcoming 2016 FISMA evaluation report.

 

[READ MORE]
Major AmeriCorps Grantee Allowed Members to Provide Abortion-Related Services Prohibited by Law; CNCS Management Undertakes Robust Actions in Response
2016-04-26

Between 2013 and 2015, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), Bethesda, MD, allowed a few AmeriCorps members to provide emotional support (doula care) to women during abortion procedures at three New York City clinics operated by the Institute for Family Health (IFH), a subgrantee.  The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (the Serve America Act), the Federal statute authorizing the AmeriCorps program expressly prohibits the use of AmeriCorps resources to “provid[e] abortion services or referrals for receipt of such services.”  See 42 U.S.C. §12584a(a)(9).  The same prohibition appears in the regulations governing the AmeriCorps program. See 45 C.F.R. §2520.65(a)(10).  NACHC is one of AmeriCorps’ largest grantees, receiving $ 30 million over the last five years.    The organization also receives support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is aware of this investigation.  Major AmeriCorps Grantee Allowed Members to Provide Abortion-Related Services Prohibited by Law; CNCS Management Undertakes Robust Actions in Response.

[READ MORE]
Maricopa County Community College District Agrees to Pay $4 Million for Alleged False Claims Related to Award of AmeriCorps Education Awards
2014-12-02

Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) has agreed to pay $4.08 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that it submitted false claims to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) concerning AmeriCorps state and national grants, the Justice Department announced today.  MCCCD is the entity responsible for operating community colleges in Maricopa County, Arizona, and is based in Phoenix

 

http://go.usa.gov/6Ck4

[READ MORE]
Information Security and Privacy Program at the Corporation for National and Community Service Requires Great Improvement
2014-11-17

The information security and privacy program at the Corporation for National and Community Service (Corporation) does not meet minimum standards and needs substantial improvement across the board. Kearney & Company, P.C. (Kearney), under the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) supervision, uncovered weaknesses in 11 of the 12 areas tested. The controls were found to be ineffective in seven of these areas, and in four of them—Continuous Monitoring, Risk Management, Plans of Action & Milestones and Privacy—the defects were severe enough to constitute a significant deficiency, requiring immediate correction and attention by agency leadership.

[READ MORE]
Former School Employee Pleads Guilty to Theft of AmeriCorps Funds
2014-02-05

Ms. Welithia Fortune embezzled $31,805.39 from an AmeriCorps program run by the Lee County School District of Bishopville, South Carolina, by diverting funds to her own personal checking account while serving there as an Administrative Assistant.  Ms. Fortune pled guilty to the theft and was sentenced in February 2013 by the Lee County Circuit Court to six years’ incarceration (suspended), five years’ probation, and ordered to make restitution to the government in the amount of $31,805.39, plus fees and court costs.  Ms. Fortune has since been debarred from doing business with the Federal government for a period of three years.

[READ MORE]
Former AmeriCorps Program Director Convicted for Misuse of AmeriCorps Funds
2014-02-05

Mr. Richard Parks misused more than $95,000 in Federal program funds by enrolling ineligible individuals in AmeriCorps, and falsifying member time sheets while serving as the AmeriCorps Program Director at the Salt Lake County Resource and Development Division, Salt Lake, UT.  Mr. Parks pled guilty to Wire Fraud and Theft of Federal Funds in Federal District Court, Salt Lake City, UT, and in September 2013, that court sentenced Park to 36 months’ probation and ordered him to make restitution to the government in the amount of $13,907.  

[READ MORE]
Former AmeriCorps Director and Staff Convicted in Theft of AmeriCorps Funds
2014-02-05

Ms. Chante Sweet, Executive Director of the Miami AmeriCorps Community Emergency Support (ACES) Program in Miami, Florida, conspired with ACES staff members Ms. Ashley Rolle and Ms. Simone West to steal $31,632.90 in federal program funds.  Ms. Sweet enrolled Ms. West and Ms. Rolle in the AmeriCorps program, and in return received half of their living allowances. 

 

The case went to trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and Ms. Sweet was found guilty of Theft of Federal Program Funds and sentenced to three years’ probation, 180 days’ home detention with electronic monitoring, and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and make restitution to the government in the amount of $21,932.  Ms. Rolle and Ms. West were also found guilty and sentenced to 18 months’ probation, and ordered to perform 80 hours of community service and make restitution to the government in amounts of $4,801 from Ms. Rolle, and $4,899.90 from Ms. West.  

 

In August 2013, Ms. Rolle, Ms. West and Ms. Sweet were all debarred by the Corporation’s Suspension and Debarment Official from doing business with the Federal Government for a period of three years.

[READ MORE]
Associate Judge Debarred
2013-06-10

Former AmeriCorps Commission Chairman Barred from Doing Business with the Federal Government
Washington, DC – Muasau Tofili, former Chairman of the Board of the American Samoa Special Services Commission (Commission), has been debarred from doing business with the Federal government for one year.  Mr Tofili, who in September of 2012 became an Associate Judge of the High Court of American Samoa, pocketed more than $2,400 by overcharging the government for hotel expenses.  The Commission was funded with taxpayer dollars by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

http://www.cncsoig.gov/associate-judge-debarred

[READ MORE]
New Jersey Senior Corps Program Cannot Account for $1.4 Million in Federal Grant Funds.
2013-05-13

WASHINGTON, DC -- Atlantic Human Resources, Inc. (AHR), a non-profit organization in Atlantic City, New Jersey, cannot account for $1.4 million in costs charged against two grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), according to the agency’s Office of Inspector General. Among the more egregious findings of a recently released audit report, AHR double-billed the government for office services, claimed credits for travel reimbursements and meals that it did not provide to volunteers, failed to ensure that participants were eligible for means-tested benefits, and issued worthless checks to volunteers with incomes near the poverty level. More than 70 percent of the costs charged to the grants were improper or unsupported.

[READ MORE]
Inspector General Stresses Prevention; Asks Grantee Directors to be Her “Early Warning System.”
2012-09-20

WASHINGTON, DC – Deborah Jeffrey, newly confirmed Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service, this week told an audience of AmeriCorps State and National grantee directors that at a time of looming budget cuts to federal programs, it was critically important they remain aware of their duty to the taxpayers, and to future grantees, to be good stewards of the federal money with which they have been entrusted. 

[READ MORE]
1 2
REPORT WASTE FRAUD & ABUSE
HOTLINE
(800) 452-8210
hotline@cncsoig.gov
The Office of Special Counsel
OfficeOfSpecialCounsel
CNCS
ignet
RSS FEED
Or Follow CNCSOIG Twitter on Twitter & Facebook Facebook for the latest news and reports.
GetAdobe
0
HOTLINE
(800) 452-8210
PHONE
(202) 606-9390
FAX
(202) 485-0008
PRIVACY POLICY
LEGAL DISCLAIMER
SITEMAP
0