Audit questions $6M in labor charges by NM agency

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Federal auditors are recommending that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recover more than $6 million in grant funding from New Mexico.

The EPA's Office of Inspector General says three bureaus within the New Mexico Environment Department did not always comply with federal requirements when it came to charging labor, fringe benefits and indirect costs to federal grants.

The auditors say the Air Quality Bureau and Drinking Water Bureau charged the costs based on budget allocations instead of actual activities performed by workers. The Surface Water Quality Bureau submitted personnel reports that didn't meet requirements.

The department acknowledged Tuesday that some work wasn't sufficiently documented.

However, agency officials say the problem has been corrected and all activities required by the grants were completed and that no funding was misused by the department.