COLUMBUS – Wednesday, Ohio Auditor of State candidate and State Representative John Patrick Carney (D-Clintonville) shared his goals for the State Auditor office.
“The Ohio Auditor of State Office, under my watch, will work for the people of Ohio,” Carney told reporters as he outlined a number of policy details and shared plans to improve the State Auditor’s office to help it better work with Ohio communities.
Carney made clear that his goals centered around a bipartisan approach to pull back the curtain for taxpayers by making adjustments to office operations that focus on increasing transparency, accountability, and community interaction.
A top goal, Carney said, would be to increase transparency by increasing the amount of information readily available to the public through the Auditor’s website.
In regards to recent issues surrounding charter schools in Ohio, Carney proposed an annual assessment of the overall impact of charter schools on traditional districts. The assessment would be made widely available to the public through the Auditor’s website.
In regards to the growing need to hold organizations accountable if they receive state funds, Carney said his office would create a Rapid Response Audit division. The division would focus on serious allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse. Carney explained it would be activated any time there is substantial, credible evidence of fraud, waste or abuse of taxpayer dollars so that the public is informed of any gross misuse of their money as quickly as possible.
“It is the Auditor’s job to watch out for Ohioans and make sure taxpayers know where their money is going,” Carney said. “We need someone in office that’s going to stand up for the taxpayers; not for political bosses, not for partisan politics, not for anybody else, but for the taxpayers.”
John Patrick Carney’s Policy Proposal Background:
– As Auditor, John Patrick Carney will increase transparency by increasing the amount of information readily available to the public through the Auditor’s website
– A new report released by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University calls for increased accountability and transparency in the taxpayer-funded charter school sector – the Auditor is empowered to make that happen by pulling back the curtain on some of the practices within districts.
– As Auditor, John Patrick Carney will conduct an annual assessment of the overall impact of charter schools on traditional districts.
– The assessment would review:
· The flow of funding between charter schools and traditional districts
· Student enrollment trends
· Educational outcomes
– The assessment would also identify best practices within both public and charter schools to ensure best practices are being shared to improve educational outcomes as a whole.
– The results of the assessment would be made widely available to the public through the Auditor of State’s website.
– Similar to Washington State [source: Washington State Auditor website: Performance Audit, 2014], John Patrick Carney will post descriptions of the purpose and scope of performance audits, like audits of districts and charter schools, once the audit work begins.
– The post would include a description of the project, a summary of the topic, and a summary of the plan for conducting the audit.
– Any organization or entity that receives state funds will be held accountable.
– John Patrick Carney will create a Rapid Response Audit division for serious allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse
– The current Auditor said, “There’s no such thing as a hurry up audit.” in response to Rep. Carney’s initial calls for an Audit of JobsOhio, but other states prove that’s not the case.
– The Auditor of Missouri currently uses a rapid response audit program
– [Source: Missouri State Auditor’s Website; Rapid Response and Follow Up]
– The rapid response team would be activated when there is substantial, credible evidence there is:
· Fraud, violations of state or federal law, rule or regulation, or significant mismanagement or waste of public resources; or
· Significant risk of loss of confidence of the people in their government due to fiscal abuse; and
· The need for immediate action to prevent continued harm
– Any organization or entity that receives state funds will be held accountable, but John Patrick Carney’s office will also make sure to partner with communities to help them remain in compliance
– A grant monitoring board would be established to keep watch on state economic development grants and contracts and make recommendations for clawback.
– A task force will be convened to review and clarify Development Service Agency award agreement templates, as recommended in the 2010 Economic Development Accountability Report.
– The task force would address award recipient reporting forms and deadlines to standardize the process
o This would help eliminate confusion and help communities that receive funds to remain in compliance
– An education program would be developed to help Economic Development Award Recipients
– This recommendation comes after a 2010 Review of the State’s Economic Development Compliance
o The review found state award recipients often lack basic knowledge of their awards and some even fail to understand the transparency and accountability required when accepting state assistance.