Six pages. Yes, six pages. That’s the length of the State Auditor’s audit report on the Iowa Department of Administrative Services – an agency with a total budget of close to $100 million – for FY 2012. Really only three pages, since one page is a cover, one page is blank, and one page is a list of staff who worked on the audit. No mention of employees being fired because of politics, and no mention of secret “hush money” payments paid to these fired employees. And of course the audit report lacks the legally required assessments of how efficiently or effectively the agency is being run, and whether it is operating according to law and in a businesslike manner. Just some minor points about financial reporting and capital asset inventories. Clearly…Iowa’s State Auditor is simply not doing the job.
We Iowans work hard for our money. We know that we need to pay taxes for schools, roads, and all the things government does. But we expect that government will be good stewards of our money, be efficient, achieve desired results, follow the law, and operate in a business-like manner. Indeed, our elected legislators have given the State Auditor the responsibility to make sure our expectations are being met, and to recommend solutions if they are not. Put another way, the State Auditor is required by law to every year look at all state government agencies and make sure they are being accountable to the taxpayers.
Unfortunately, we have a problem. Our current State Auditor was appointed by Governor Branstad when the elected State Auditor resigned. She has little experience watching over public money. She was a county auditor – an office very different from State Auditor – until Secretary of State Matt Schultz appointed her as his deputy. Her audits focus only on financial management, ignoring her legal responsibility to address critical topics such as efficiency, effectiveness, compliance with the law, and operating in a business-like manner. She simply isn’t doing the job. Our current State Auditor claims to be a “taxpayer’s watchdog”, but she is failing to do some of the most important parts of the State Auditor’s job.
Jon Neiderbach will change this. Jon has dozens of years of experience digging for problems, never shying away from uncomfortable questions or political hot potatoes. He worked for nearly 15 years providing clear, non-partisan analysis of government budgets and policies for Iowa legislators. Then he spent 14 years working as a management analyst in the Department of Human Services, helping use technology to improve Iowa’s child support system and making sure folks who got benefits they were not entitled to pay them back. Jon was asked to work on Governor Vilsack’s Redesign Research Team, helping to evaluate proposals for government redesign, and in 2008 he was asked to work in Governor Culver’s Rebuild Iowa Office.
Jon knows that being a REAL “taxpayer’s watchdog” means holding government accountable: as Iowa law requires, every annual audit must review efficiency, effectiveness, compliance with the law, and operation in a business-like manner. Jon knows that being a REAL “taxpayer’s watchdog” means – as Iowa law requires – identifying solutions to problems discovered by these audits. Jon knows being a REAL “taxpayer’s watchdog” means understanding that inefficiency, ineffectiveness, violations of law, and unbusiness-like practices are as much a threat to Iowans as problems with financial management. Jon knows that we need a State Auditor with proven experience working independent of politics, who will ignore party affiliation in the performance of their job.
Jon Neiderbach will be a Chief Accountability Officer for Iowa government. Please join our campaign!
The State Auditor is the “taxpayers’ watchdog”, responsible for finding situations where government is wasteful or inefficient, and sounding the alarm when programs aren’t delivering. The State Auditor’s job is to make government accountable. But our recent State Auditors have not examined the quality of management, the efficiency of operations, or the effectiveness of programs. They have allowed theft and fraud to go undiscovered for years, using clearly inadequate auditing procedures. And to make matters worse, recent State Auditors have gotten involved in politics: they have become spokespersons for Governor Branstad’s policies and rubber stamps for the political cronies he has appointed. As State Auditor I will ferret out bad management and inefficiency and carefully measure program effectiveness. I’ll look at the value taxpayers get for government spending. When there is a problem I’ll keep taxpayers informed. In short, I will be Iowa’s Chief Accountability Officer, a REAL “taxpayers’ watchdog”. If you have any questions or suggestions please call me at (515) 984-0021, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your consideration. I hope to earn your support and your vote.