Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, has asked Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Director Liesl Clark to detail efforts to prevent embezzlement and fraud within the department.
Clark has agreed to testify and is expected to come before the Michigan House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing DEGLE on Tuesday, April 27, Glenn said.
Glenn’s efforts come after a former DEGLE employee, Joseph Pettit, was recently charged with embezzling more than $850,000 from the state between 2018 and 2020. Overall losses could be higher, but suspected embezzlements from 2013 through 2016 are barred by the statute of limitations.
Authorities say the money was embezzled from bond money companies pay when they drill oil and gas wells.
“I am glad Director Clark has agreed to come before our committee and talk about what is being done to ensure something like this never happens again,” said Glenn, who chairs the House budget committee related to DEGLE. “My goal is for her department, other state departments and the Legislature to work together on sound solutions to prevent crimes like these and to help maintain public trust in state government.”
The hearing will continue Glenn’s multiple efforts to bring more accountability to state government. Thursday, the House Government Operations Committee approved House Bill 4064, sponsored by Glenn. The measure is designed to protect state employees who may have knowledge of wrongdoing or simply want to raise concerns about how their departments operate.
The measure would create an official State Employee Ombudsman office to receive and refer whistleblower complaints to the appropriate administrative or law enforcement authorities, while protecting the identity of state employees submitting the complaints.
The measure advances to the House floor for further consideration.
Rep. Glenn talks about her House Bill 4640, which eliminates an inconsistency in state law that sometimes could undermine a court’s ability to step in and protect neglected children. The legislation is currently under consideration in the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee.