Gov. Steve Beshear has made the right call, for all involved, by initiating an investigation into management and spending by a state agency of federal workforce money.
It's always the right thing to make sure that public money is spent efficiently for the purpose intended.
In a poor state where unemployment and underemployment contribute to our recurring economic and societal woes, it's even more important to make sure money intended to help people find and prepare for jobs is spent effectively.
And if there was ever an ideal moment to clean the slate on state management of almost $50 million annually in federal workforce monies, this is it.
For almost two years, there have been loud and persistent questions about workforce spending. Most of it has been aimed at local area development districts, particularly the 17-county Bluegrass ADD in Central Kentucky.
Raised initially by committed private citizens, the concerns have grown as those individuals fought to pry open records and aim more light on the issues.
Last year the state auditor issued a scathing report about workforce funds management at the Bluegrass ADD.
The auditor's office also raised troubling questions about management at the state level in the annual audit released this year.
Making the timing even more critical, a new federal law that overhauls workforce spending will take effect July 1. So this is a good time to clear the air.
Beshear directed the Finance and Administration Cabinet Office of Policy and Audit to examine allegations in the statewide audit that the Cabinet for Education and Workforce Development was incorrectly charging staff time on federal workforce grants.
Beshear has more work to do in this area.
It's his job to decide before the new law takes effect whether the current system will remain in place, funneling workforce funds largely through the area development districts.
Another option, which conforms better with modern economic realities, is to give local economic centers, such as Fayette County, more direct control over job training and other federal workforce funds.
The Education and Workforce cabinet already has begun developing systems for better accountability — both for spending and results.
That's another welcome step in the right direction.