10:00 PM PDT on Thursday, May 26, 2011

By JIM MILLER
Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – Inland Regional Center’s first attempt at getting off state-imposed probation has fallen short, with a recent state letter highlighting continued concerns about operations at the San Bernardino-based facility.

The center serves 22,000 developmentally disabled residents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. It is the largest of 21 nonprofit agencies that contract with the state to arrange transportation, housing and other services for developmentally disabled residents.

The Department of Developmental Services placed the Inland center on probation in January, putting the center’s contract at risk. The order followed an audit’s conclusion that the center violated part of its contract, as well as questions about how the center sets its provider rates, handles property and manages its housing program.

In a May 20 letter, department director Terri Delgadillo told the president of the regional center’s board of directors that “we commend you for your achievements” but “many significant issues remain.”

Delgadillo said the center hasn’t met demands that it compile an accurate inventory of its state property. The center also continues to pay vendor rates that violate state law, Delgadillo wrote, and wrongly gave money to foundations that in turn distributed grants for “move-in costs/household items.”

The center also needs to do more to protect whistleblowers and improve morale among its employee, Delgadillo said.

Department spokesman Nancy Lungren declined further comment on the department’s letter. A department audit of the Inland center continues and should be finished by summer, she said Thursday.

In a statement on the Inland center’s website, board president Drew Cutler said center officials “understood that our probation exit would be a process.

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