The state should have the authority to audit government-funded mental-health agencies, State Auditor Tom Allen told a legislative committee Wednesday.

Lawmakers are looking at ways to prevent another Timpanogos Mental Health scandal. Earlier this year it was discovered that managers at the Utah County facility had contracted with themselves for various services that put an extra $3 million into their pockets. Criminal charges haven't been filed, but the attorney general's office is investigating.Allen was criticized Tuesday by his Democratic opponent, Arthur Miller, over the issue. Miller said Allen should have audited the center and caught the money loss.

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But Allen says he didn't have the authority to audit Timpanogos Mental Health. "State law says these agencies are audited by private, independent certified public accountants. This proposed bill would make the state responsible," he said. The bill was presented to the Interim Appropriations Committee, whose members will consider it and other measures.

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