Developmental Disabilities Council executive director placed on paid leave following audit

DOVER — The executive director of a state agency determined by an audit to have allegedly committed contract and travel expense violations was placed on administrative leave with pay and benefits Tuesday, according to a news release.

Pat Maichle was temporarily assigned to Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security Office of the Secretary on June 29, the day the State of Delaware Office of Auditor of Accounts released investigative findings that substantiated, in part, 9 of 10 allegations lodged against the Developmental Disabilities Council.

On Thursday, DSHS spokeswoman Wendy Hudson said an administrative investigation began after the Office of the Secretary received complaints in October 2017. The DSHS requested the audit, Ms. Hudson said.

The director was referenced in six of nine allegations that were partially or fully verified, according to the auditor. The investigation covered Fiscal Years 2015 through 2017.

The findings included “issuing contracts without Requests For Proposals or competitive bidding” and “issuing contracts to a vendor who was not doing the work it was contracted for.”

The audit’s findings are available online at auditor.delaware.gov.

Three DDC staff members “continue to conduct the day-to-day operations of the office in their support of the Developmental Disabilities Council. Additional oversight of financial matters is provided by the Office of the Secretary and the Chair of the DDC,” the DSHS news release said.

According to Ms. Hudson, “No further information can be released pertaining to the personnel matter and the administrative investigation.”

State payroll records showed Ms. Maichle’s current salary as $67,990 annually. Her starting date as a state employee was listed as October 1989.

The auditor’s findings also maintained:

•Contracts did not include a 40 percent match requirement.

•Contractors did not submit required reports by the specified deadline.

•Contracts were issued for purposes that did not align with a goal or objective of the State Plan.

•Contracts were not signed by the Council Chair.

Travel violations identified in the report involved:

•The Council incurred $365 in travel related expenses above the cost of using Fleet services.

•Travel requests did not have the proper approvals.

•Travelers did not follow Council reporting requirements upon returning from the trip.

No suggested corrective actions were referenced in the findings.

According to the auditor, the director was placed on administrative leave in September 2017 and returned in January 2018 as the investigation was ongoing.

The DDC held a public meeting Wednesday, and an agenda listed the auditor’s report as the first item under news business.

Funding sources

The DDC is federally funded through the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The audit indicated that the agency received a combined $1,456,817 in federal grants between FY 2015 and 2017, and $20,000 annually from the State of Delaware.

Delaware State News attempts to reach the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Thursday were not immediately successful.

Ms. Maichle was listed as a Senior Administrator among agency staff at ddc.delaware.gov.

In a message included in the DDC’s 2017 annual report, Ms. Maichle wrote, “The past year has brought many successes and some challenges.

“We enjoyed graduating another Junior Partners in Policymaking class; young advocates who will take up the work of changing the world. Our Consumer Caucus members realize their great importance as members of the Council.

“They are ‘a small group of thoughtful citizens’ who WILL change the world!

“We have also welcomed new members to the Council and have said our goodbyes to members who have great commitment to the people of Delaware for many years and have helped us brings positive systems change for those we represent. Thank you to all of our members for the hard work!”

The DDC’s stated mission online pledges to address “the unmet needs of people with developmental disabilities through system-wide advocacy, planning and demonstration projects …” and “to promote and embrace conclusion, equality and empowerment.”

The Dover-based DDC office is located in the Margaret M. O’Neill Building at 410 Federal Street.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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