San Diego County, CA November 7, 2000 Election
Smart Voter

California Needs an Independent Auditor General

By Larry Stirling

Candidate for State Senator; District 39

This information is provided by the candidate
I believe the State Constitution should be ammended to provide for a constitutional officer known as the Auditor General of the State of California.
California Needs an Independent Auditor General

I believe the State Constitution should be ammended to provide for a constitutional officer known as the Auditor General of the State of California.

The reasons are these:

First, I am a former finance director. As a result of that experience I am well aware of the necessity for and the value of having an independent review of any operation, and especially government operations. In addition, I am aware of the ethics of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants that require that auditors be independent of those they audit. It only makes sense. If you work for the person that you are auditing, and your career depends on the positive evaluations of that person, it is highly unlikely that you will make findings and recommendations that will make your boss look bad. It is simply not human nature.

Most businesses have a reasonable requirement for an "independent" audit, which helps insure the accuracy of the organization's financial statements.

As a former military officer in command of a large number of soldiers, I always welcomed "inspections" from the Inspector General, because it gave me insight as to how my "chain of command" was doing.

We have no such arrangement in the State of California, and we pay a terrible price for that.

As a Superior Court Judge, I have presided over hundreds of cases of welfare fraud. Welfare fraud costs the taxpayers of San Diego about $50 million a year, money that is really needed in various programs. But since it is "federal money," no one really cares about the fraud. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that in their county, welfare fraud costs about $500 million a year. How could this be?

The answer is simple: the State of California for some reason is lacking the basic institutional entity known as an "independent auditor." The state has plenty of audit staff, but they work for the very departments that they are auditing. They cannot tell the whole truth.

And indeed we have an "Auditor General." But he is employed by the legislature. He does not have standing audit authority. He just does special studies if the legislative leadership wants him to. Needless to say, he isn't going to find anything wrong with the way that legislators' programs are working.

What is missing is the independence in the state audit arrangement.

With an independent State Auditor General perhaps we will get to the truth about the massive fraud in welfare abuse, and program ineffectiveness such as the California textbook program.

Yes we have a "Little Hoover Commission." But they can only look at what they want to. They have no affirmative obligations to investigate. And they have no ethical or legal requirements to do so.

California needs its own constitutionally independent State Auditor General. When I am elected, I will sponsor such a constitutional amendment.

Sincerely, Larry Stirling

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