State Auditor at odds with DHHS

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Updated: Tue, 22 Oct 2013 07:03:41 CST

It's like déjà vu. State Auditor Mike Foley and the Department of Health and Human Services seem almost constantly at odds.

It's no secret that Nebraska State Auditor Mike Foley and the Department of Health and Human Services have a rocky relationship.

Just this past May Foley's office uncovered a massive misuse of funds within a Medicaid program.
Right now, the auditor's office is undergoing 3 audits within DHHS.

Foley's office requested employee personnel records, which in turn sparked big controversy.

Employees whose records were accessed were sent a letter.

News 5 obtained a copy of the letter that says in part, "The Auditor of Public Accounts has emphatically stated that under existing state law, the State Auditor can demand access to your confidential personnel file."

"They implied that we were doing something improper by peering into these records." Said Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, Mike Foley.

The letter went on to say "I regret this intrusion on your personal records."

"There's nothing to regret here, it's all perfectly legitimate and they should have told the employees." Said Foley.

Representatives with the Department of Health and Human Services are declining to talk on camera because they say that the issue has been blown out of proportion.

Kathie Osterman with DHHS told News 5 the intent of the letters was never to become part of a public discussion.

But, with Foley running for governor, some people wonder if the whole issue is a matter of politics.

"When I become the governor I'm going to take the agency apart brick by brick not with the intent to damage it but because I want to rebuild it." Said Foley.

Foley also told News 5 that he and the CEO of Health and Human Services met earlier today.

And they have cleared the air, saying both groups would like to communicate better in the future to avoid another public debacle.