Officials at the Developmental Disabilities Administration have launched an investigation into why $25 million was left unspent by the agency, and the new executive director says he expects answers by the end of the year.

The agency serves 20,000 but has a waiting list of 5,000, and some could have benefited from the money, said Frank Kirkland, who took over the post in August, about the time when fiscal year-end auditing found that accounting errors had cost funding.

Kirkland wouldn't say if anyone was disciplined or what the root of the problem may have been. He also couldn't say how far back the accounting problems may have stretched.

He says he's faced angry advocates and lawmakers, who recently passed an alcohol tax to benefit services for the disabled. The agency expects to use that money to provide ongoing aid to approximately 240 more people this fiscal year and one-time funding for about 400 more.

The agency provides services including home visits, residential care, skills training and job placement — a service Kirkland says nationwide has been in higher demand because of the economy.

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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