States have significantly fewer auditors and inspectors general on payrolls than before the Great Recession, reports Governing.
Governing identified an aggregate decline in filled staff positions reported by the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers of 7 percent over the decade ending in fiscal 2017. Thirty of 47 agencies reported that their staff was smaller than in 2007.
Those left have seen their budgets dwindle. From their coverage:
At a time when governments are trying to get a better grip on their finances, many states have cut funds for auditing and oversight. Such positions were sometimes among the first casualties in the aftermath of the recession. “I find it interesting that there is this nationwide trend of cutting back on the independent watchdog’s budget,” says Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. “I’ve yet to find a taxpayer or a legislator who doesn’t want less waste, fraud and abuse in state government.”
Closer to home, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs just wrote WMATA General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld a letter suggesting that “the transit agency’s inspector general lacks the necessary independence to perform its oversight duties and keep the public informed of the results,” according to The Washington Post. The Committee requests a briefing from Wiedefeld on how the authority “oversees its own overseer.”
Delegate Marc Korman from Montgomery County tweeted thoughts on funding for WMATA’s inspector general:
And why the operating budget for next year must include the IG’s requested budget increases.
— Marc Korman (@mkorman) November 15, 2017