California State Auditor’s Retirement Highlights Need for State COO

1 year ago 122


When The Sacramento Bee precocious announced Elaine Howle’s plans to discontinue arsenic the California State Auditor (CSA) astatine the extremity of this year, the Orange County Register’s editorial staff sung her praises and lamented her determination to leave. As a certified nationalist accountant who was an audit spouse earlier entering the nationalist sector, I person garnered a beardown nonrecreational admiration for Ms. Howle portion serving successful the capitol and echo these sentiments.

While serving successful the authorities senate, I was truthful fond of her enactment merchandise that I invited her to my capitol bureau to inquire if I could make a measure that would grow her staffing level. She politely declined the suggestion.

Instead, I pursued Senate Bill 1297, which would person established the bureau of a Chief Operating Officer (COO). Ms. Howle’s audit reports verified that this authorities needs amended management, and my measure provided for a enactment presumption that could person addressed specified matters. Someone with beardown authorization needs to travel up connected the CSA’s reports, which is seldom being done wrong California’s monolithic organizational illustration of departments and agencies. And if the politician is the COO oregon CEO, we’re successful trouble.

My measure was passed by the Senate Governmental Organization Committee without absorption connected April 24, 2018. Regretfully, it was killed by the Senate Appropriations Committee a period aboriginal by its past chair, Ricardo Lara, who is present serving arsenic the elected California Insurance Commissioner.

I archetypal became acquainted with the CSA backmost successful 1995. Then State Auditor Kurt Sjoberg would reappraisal the Orange County bankruptcy and contented a study (pdf) with recommendations having a rubric stating the obvious: “Orange County: Treasurer’s Investment Strategy Was Excessively Risky and Violated Public Trust.”

The CSA heads up an autarkic auditing section that examines and reports annually upon the fiscal statements prepared by the enforcement subdivision of the state; performs different related assignments, including show audits, that are mandated by statute; administers the Reporting of Improper Governmental Activities Act; and conducts audits and investigations of nationalist entities requested by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to the grade that backing is available.

The CSA besides investigates whistleblower complaints against authorities agencies and provides the study to the politician and legislature. The agencies person 60 days to study connected immoderate disciplinary and corrective actions they take.

The authorities auditor is appointed by the governor to a 4-year word and is selected from a database of 3 qualified individuals submitted aft interviews of candidates by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

I served connected the Joint Legislative Audit Committee for 2 years and had the privilege of moving with Elaine Howle. I worked with her connected intelligence wellness related issues impacting counties. She did an investigation connected a constituent of the failing Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, of which I was trying to marque reforms. The rubric (pdf) said it all, “California Has Not Ensured That Individuals With Serious Mental Illnesses Receive Adequate Ongoing Care.”

This followed her study (pdf) 2 years prior, titled “Mental Health Services Act: The State Could Better Ensure the Effective Use of Mental Health Services Act Funding.”

Ms. Howle besides took an involvement successful the fiscal wellbeing of California’s cities, thing I person been pursuing for immoderate time. Her efforts woke up communities similar Vacaville, Monrovia, San Gabriel, West Covina and Inglewood.

While pursuing my 2019 bill, SB 1053, to let for much nurses to rapidly participate into the authorities and forgo the lengthy and duplicative licensing process, I pointed retired the State Auditor’s report connected the state’s sadly managed Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). Report 2019-210 had a self-explanatory title, “BRN: It Has Failed to Use Sufficient Information When Considering Enrollment Decisions for New and Existing Nursing Programs.” My measure failed to get retired of the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee with a 4 to 5 ballot (at slightest 2 of the committee’s Democratic members saw the request during the pandemic).

Ms. Howle has precocious received highly deserved praise for her audits of the Employment Development Department, thing I powerfully encouraged her to do.

Ms. Howle did a study connected the EDD during the Great Recession, lone to spot that her recommendations were not implemented, frankincense reminding legislators successful “Employment Development Department: EDD’s Poor Planning and Ineffective Management Left It Unprepared to Assist Californians Unemployed by COVID19 Shutdowns.”

Her study (pdf) connected the high-speed obstruction should person made the supermajority shudder and unopen it down. It was titled, “Its Flawed Decision Making and Poor Contract Management Have Contributed to Billions successful Cost Overruns and Delays successful the System’s Construction.”

At the onset of the pandemic, I requested (pdf) that the authorities auditor reappraisal the acquisitions of idiosyncratic protective instrumentality (PPE) made unilaterally by the governor. The past chartless magnitude being spent was precise costly.

One of her much awkward audit reports (pdf) revealed terrible fiscal mismanagement by UC President Janet Napolitano, stating, “The Office of the President accumulated much than $175 cardinal successful restricted and discretionary reserves that it failed to disclose to the regents and created undisclosed budgets to walk those reserve funds.”

This CPA is grateful that California had a top-notch authorities auditor for much than 2 decades. I had amusive moving with Elaine Howle. I privation her each the champion successful her retirement.

There is already interest astir the process that volition prime her replacement. Whoever is appointed should person the tenacity of Ms. Howle and the realism that not overmuch happens aft audit reports are released. Consequently, establishing an autarkic Chief Operating Officer should beryllium reconsidered by the authorities legislature and implemented to springiness the adjacent CSA’s reports much teeth successful addressing the systemic mismanagement successful Sacramento that Ms. Howle truthful eloquently elucidated upon.

Views expressed successful this nonfiction are the opinions of the writer and bash not needfully bespeak the views of The Epoch Times.

John Moorlach


John Moorlach is simply a erstwhile Orange County Supervisor who astir precocious served arsenic a authorities senator. He antecedently spent 12 years arsenic Orange County’s Treasurer-Tax Collector, and led the region retired of bankruptcy.

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