UPDATE: Richmond over-billed state $3.8 million dollars

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond City officials are working to correct a major over billing mistake to the tune of nearly four million dollars. City officials say this is a billing error involving invoices that date back to October of last year.

While city leaders determine how much of the $3.8 million must be paid back to the state, they're looking into what needs to be done to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"We're going to need to pay the state back some money," said city spokesperson Tammy Hawley late Friday.

The City of Richmond is looking at an estimated $3.8 million dollar billing oversight by its Social Services department.

"It is a lot of money and hopefully we can work the rough it with the state and find out exactly what it is we owe and work out exactly how we're going to repay them if we need to repay them," said City Council President, Kathy Graziano.

According to city spokesperson, Tammy Hawley, coding errors started in January partly when the state changed its billing system. Hawley says the billing is related to reimbursements of certain foster care and adoption services provided by the city.

"We are meeting with the state to work out a proper way to correct the errors," said Hawley.

The city administration chalks up the multi-million dollar error to poor management and record keeping.

"The turn over in the last four years has been constant and so we have no continuity," said Graziano.

Hawley says it's against city policy to discuss personnel disciplinary actions but insists something will be done to ensure a smoother operation from here on out.

"Operational efficiency is a high priority for Mayor Jones and we will put systems in place to ensure the operation is running efficiently," said Hawley.

Richmond Social Services hasn't had a department head for more than a year now. City officials say they're working quickly to fill that position.

Meantime, the city auditor says it could take a few weeks to sort through the billing error. Social services assistance will not be impacted.

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