Waccamaw EOC audit begins Wednesday

Board members of the Waccamaw Economic Opportunity Council met Tuesday night to discuss a Whistleblower policy as part of findings from a private audit. They are required to conduct a private audit agency-wide on themselves each year. The Waccamaw EOC provides programs like heating assistance, Head Start, and summer food programs to those in need in Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties.

Wednesday, the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity, the state agency which partially funds the Waccamaw EOC, is sending a team to conduct the second state audit the state will do in a year.

In March 2010, a 13 page compliance report issued from the Office of Economic Opportunity said the EOC violated 9 agency rules. A high-risk designation was placed on the agency following that 2010 board audit. The compliance issues in violation included not following bylaws in the election of some of its members.The audit led to several months of problems with the agency, which temporarily lost funding and shut down.

The director of the S.C. Office of Economic Opportunity Ken McManus, says the timing of the audit is based on the agency's apparent resolution of all but one of the findings contained in the OEO's March 26, 2010 Board Compliance Report that led to its high risk status designation.

The state placed spending restrictions on the EOC in May of 2010, after a state audit showed that the EOC board violated a number of rules. Later, state officials said those spending restrictions would be lifted, if all the current board members resigned. Most of them did quit, but six did not.

The EOC's Executive Director at the time tried to keep the agency going by asking the bank for an emergency line of credit, but that failed and 42 employees had to be laid off temporarily.

Before the meeting the EOC's new Executive Director James Pasley said the board has "evolved and acted in good faith to correct the issues."

He added this three day audit has to do with the Board of Directors.

The audit that begins Wednesday will include meetings with individual board members and agency staff. The will also include reviews of findings from OEO's March 26, 2010 Board Compliance Report and their resolutions.

At the EOC's Tuesday night board meeting, the group did not have enough members to hold a quorum, which means they cannot take any votes. Still, they voted to go into executive session, where media was not allowed in.