Jones: DELEG mishandled federal grant money

LANSING – Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, has completed his investigation of how the Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth (DELEG) lost federal grant money for veterans programs.

“The money should have been used to employ Michigan residents to assist our veterans,” said Jones. “It is shameful and inexcusable that these positions were not filled immediately. I am disgusted that DELEG blew this chance to hire Michigan workers – especially when our state still ranks among the worst in unemployment.”

In December, Jones began looking into reports that $500,000 in grant money would have to be returned because the program was not run correctly. After talking with the federal government and the department, he learned that $623,000 in federal grant money was lost because the department failed to hire people in a timely fashion.

Some positions were left vacant for more than a year. The grant money was to be spent to hire veterans to help both returning veterans and disabled veterans.

A DELEG spokesperson claimed that the money could still be spent in the “fifth quarter” which is a term to describe spending the money after the year is up. However, Jones has learned that the following years grant will now be cut $623,000 because it was not spent properly.

“It is shocking that while our military veterans are returning in need from both Iraq and Afghanistan that this money was mishandled by DELEG,” Jones said. “This points to the need for Gov. Snyder to replace Andy Levin and shake up the leadership of the department soon so that proper policies can be put in place.”