State Audit Critical Of Cuyahoga County Veterans Agency - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

State Audit Critical Of Cuyahoga County Veterans Agency

CLEVELAND (AP) - A state audit criticized Cuyahoga County's veterans agency for allegedly wasting money and making needy veterans wait too long for help.

The audit released Thursday said the Cuyahoga County Veterans Service Commission suffers from mismanagement. An agency overhaul is needed, according to the report released by State Auditor Jim Petro.

The taxpayer-funded agency offers emergency money to needy veterans and their families and helps them get federal benefits.

Cuyahoga County has 139,000 veterans.

Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge Christopher Boyko, who appoints the five commissioners who run the agency, said the commission "needs to be rebuilt from the ground up."

Boyko requested the audit last year after hearing complaints from veterans and commission employees.

By law, the agency gets a percentage of assessed property taxes each year. It spent $10.5 million last year.

The audit found that the agency has no guidelines to determine which veterans are eligible for aid and how much they should get.

By law, county veterans commissions may give only temporary, emergency aid.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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