WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday her administration will try to convince federal auditors to allow its plan to spend $21 million in coronavirus relief funds on a long-planned information technology upgrade.
Reynolds said that the state believes spending federal virus aid to purchase and implement a new accounting and human resources system for the executive branch is “an allowable expense.” She said that if auditors disagree, the state will change course.
“We’re going to reach out and talk about why we believe it was an appropriate expense and hopefully we’ll get the answer we think we should get,” Reynolds told reporters. “And if not, we’ll readjust and do what we need to do. We’re not going to spend dollars in a manner that is not appropriate.”
State Auditor Rob Sand concluded Monday that the use of pandemic funds for the Workday project was inappropriate. He warned that Iowa will be on the hook to repay the federal government $21 million later if it’s not diverted to an allowable use, such as virus testing, contact tracing and personal protective equipment.
Sand said his conclusion was shared by the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General, which is monitoring the funds. Reynolds said the state plans to send a letter to that office this week with its arguments.