By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania’s auditor general says thousands of home-care workers whose services are funded by state dollars went without paychecks for months because of mismanagement of the payroll system.

Auditor general Eugene DePasquale says an audit that began in 2009 found that the state Department of Public Welfare did not adequately monitor the 36 contractors who managed the payroll for workers who provide services for the elderly and people with disabilities.

DePasquale says that lack of oversight continued when those 36 contracts were consolidated into one provider, who was paid in advance.

“The state provided $18 million up front,” he said today, “advances that continue.  And still workers went months without pay.”

The auditor general says not only did workers go without pay for up to four months, but thousands of care recipients ended up needlessly switching to a more expensive care model.

DePasquale also praised the new state welfare secretary, saying she was open and transparent and cooperated with the audit.