Q & A: Sen. Aguilar on transparency for community-centered boards

From The Colorado Statesman:  State Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, has introduced a bill to ensure that the state’s 20 Community Centered Boards are subject to regular financial and performance reviews. CCBs, private non-profits designated as entry points into support systems for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, receive funding from state, federal and local governments. Senate Bill 16-038 would make CCBs subject to the Colorado Open Records Act. In an interview with Advocacy Denver’s policy outreach specialist Catherine Strode, Aguilar says the bill was conceived out of controversy.

What is the source of the bill? It was in response to the controversy at Rocky Mountain Human Services. (Denver) Councilwoman Deborah Ortega had reached out to me because she was trying to get more information about what was going on. She was having trouble accessing information. She wanted to know if I had access to information that she did not. I realized I did not either. That was what brought the idea to my mind.

Why is this bill necessary and how would it be implemented? Right now, the state auditor does not feel that she has been given the authority to audit Community Centered Boards, and there are no specific transparency laws. The Community Centered Boards are already required to do an annual financial audit and present it to Health Care Policy and Financing. I’m asking to see whether the financial audit might be made public record, since it’s already collected. If deficiencies have been found in the state audit, they get reported to the committees of reference until they have all been resolved. The auditor would periodically go out and reassess whether the deficiencies have been resolved, until they are all gone. It would mean they’re asked to do one in the next five years, and then as frequently as they think they need, to review a sample of their records to see whether all the services are being delivered as required by state and federal law.

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