Shoddy Work, Mismanagement Plague Federal Stimulus Program

Shoddy work, waste and sloppy paperwork are hampering Tennessee’s federal stimulus program to make low-income homes more energy efficient, the state Comptroller has found.

Contractors failed to properly install window screens and insulation and performed cosmetic work that did nothing to improve energy efficiency, according to the Comptroller’s report issued today on the state’s Weatherization Assistance Program.

The program had previously topped out at $8.5 million but ballooned to $106 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress in 2009 to boost the economy.

Of the 444 homes that auditors reviewed, 233 of them had problems ranging from incomplete documentation to unauthorized contractors performing energy audits, according to the report. The auditors visited 84 homes and found problems with the workmanship, including unnecessary or flawed work, in 38.

From its letter to Department of Human Services Commissioner Virginia Lodge:

“In light of the numerous problems we noted in our field work, we wanted to advise you of our preliminary findings so that appropriate corrective actions could be initiated as soon as practicable. Our discussion of these preliminary findings regarding (the program) raises substantial concerns.”