The Management Audit Committee met for the final time of the interim this week. This committee focuses on ensuring good management practices are implemented in state and local government. There are two primary methods we accomplish this goal – by suggesting policy changes and through program evaluations.
On the policy end, we sponsored several bills that will streamline state government and allow for more accountability at the local level. For example, one bill will remove boards that no longer serve a purpose. Another consolidates or eliminates accounts that add unneeded confusion to the public.
There is other legislation that focus on transparency in our special districts throughout the state. The challenge is finding a balance between accountability and not putting an undue burden on the boards that oversee these special districts which are often run by volunteers. By setting up more processes for accountability, we can ensure better management of public resources.
One bill clears up whether special districts and recreation boards are required to comply with our audit laws. Current statutes are unclear and undermine our Department of Audit's ability to do their job. Another bill requires local entities that receive grants to comply with our financial disclosure laws before receiving state funds. The final bill regarding financial transparency at the local level gives a citizen within the special district the ability to compel compliance with fiscal reporting requirements if the entity is not in compliance.
We also prioritized our requests for program evaluations. These evaluations are deep dives into the executive branch by our Legislative Service Office staff to ensure the particular agency or process is running smoothly. The first priority will be looking at the state contracting process. It is absolutely vital this process is run in a fair, transparent and efficient manner. Doing so is vital in any function of government, but especially in a function that has so much interaction with the public.
As you can see, most legislating isn't really about massive reform or controversial topics. A lot of work is like the work of the Management Audit Committee - committed to modest, incremental changes that improve the efficiency of government little by little. As a relatively new member of the committee, I look forward to learning more about program evaluations and how they improve transparency in state government.