January 14, 2011
QUESTIONS FOR AUDITOR OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS NOMINEE
By: Judith Lohman, Assistant Director
AUDITORS OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS (CGS § 2-89)
● Two auditors head the office; which employs 117 people.
● The auditors audit the books and accounts of each state office, department, commission, board, and court; all state-supported institutions; and each quasi-public agency.
● They must report any unauthorized, illegal, irregular, or unsafe handling or expenditure of state funds or any breakdown in the safekeeping of any state resources to the governor, state comptroller, General Assembly, Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee, and the attorney general.
● The auditors investigate whistleblower complaints.
● They may contract as necessary to carry out their duties.
1. Given the state's current budget situation, how can the auditors help agencies evaluate their operations, identify priorities, realize efficiencies, and achieve savings while still accomplishing their missions?
2. How do you determine if government agencies with broad, long-term goals are meeting their objectives?
3. The auditors' 2010 Annual Report notes that, of the 456 audit recommendations made in 2010, 57% were implemented. How can the auditors make sure recommendations are implemented?
4. What role should the auditors play in agency reorganizations? How can they help in decision making using agency performance measures and data?
5. The law specifies that there must be two auditors but does not specify any minimum qualifications. What efficiencies could the state realize by requiring a single auditor and setting minimum qualifications? What would be lost by doing so?
6. If budget reductions affect your office, how will you adjust priorities and what will they be?
7. Describe any specific projects for which your office has found it necessary to contract out for auditing services.
8. The auditors are authorized to receive and review whistleblower complaints and refer their findings and recommendations to the attorney general for investigation. Recent legislative proposals have sought to remove the attorney general from this process. What are your thoughts on your office's whistleblower complaint responsibilities?
9. In its 2009 report on the state's whistleblower law, the program Review and Investigations (PRI) Committee found that the auditors' average processing time for a whistleblower complaint is more than eight months and that some complaints have taken more than two years. What do you recommend for accelerating the process for resolving these complaints?
10. The PRI report also cited a lack of enforcement and follow-up for corrective actions arising from whistleblower complaints. How do you propose to address this issue?
11. The auditors perform both financial and programmatic audits. What is your opinion of the current allocation of auditor resources between these two types of audits?
12. The 2010 Annual Report cites more than $700,000 in aggregate state losses attributable largely to theft, vandalism, and inventory shortages. How are such losses addressed? Is any of the money recovered? What can be done to reduce this loss level?
13. The auditors must report whether state agencies are using federal funds they receive in compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations. Does your office have the capacity to report on state agencies that fail to apply for available federal funds?