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Press Pass: Former employees react to Urban League audit

A recent audit revealed how the Buffalo Urban League overbilled Erie County's Department of Social Services. Charlotte Keith, who reported on the story for Investigative Post.org, discussed the findings on WBFO's Press Pass.

The audit, conducted by the office of Erie County Comptroller Stefan Michajliw, was dismissed by Brenda McDuffie, President of the Buffalo Urban League, who called it "inaccurate, unfair and biased." McDuffie told WBFO that it can take the county nearly a year to pay for services. When a billing issue came up recently, she says the money was sent back immediately.

The audit claims the Urban League overbilled the county by $40,000. The Urban league is contracted by the Department of Social Services to provide preventive services that focus on vulnerable children who may be on the verge of heading into the foster care system.

While reporting on the story, Charlotte Keith spoke with a group of "whistle blowers," a group of former Urban League employees who encouraged the county audit.

"Their main concern throughout all of this really is helping these vulnerable families they're working with," Keith said during Press Pass.

"Some of them have said to me since the story ran that there's been a lot of focus on the money and the overbilling, and while that's obviously important, I think their main concern is really the quality of the services."   

The former employees also claimed the Urban League failed to provide appropriate training.

"In some previous comments to me, Urban League officials have said that these are just disgruntled former employees," Keith said.

"To me they're pretty courageous. None of them work there any more. They really risked their jobs over this."

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Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.