Taylor Outlines Accomplishments for First Six Months in Office

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Columbus -

State Auditor Mary Taylor outlined key accomplishments made during her first six months in office to improve efficiency and accountability in the operations of state government today.

“As the chief watchdog of government spending, I am committed to ensuring that every tax dollar is spent legally and appropriately,” Taylor said. “I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Ohio’s 31st Auditor of State and I’m especially proud of the work of my office thus far to hold all of state and local government accountable for how tax dollars are spent.”

Within the first six months, Taylor has initiated a complete review of office policies and procedures and is implementing new initiatives that will help ensure the office is run more efficiently and effectively.  Improving the timeliness for getting the results of financial audits to the public is a key goal for the administration.  With more than 3,400 audits conducted each year, the office has already issued 1,933 audits, uncovering $2,419,745.84 million in misspent funds. 

“I believe that one of the most important priorities of this office is to deliver audited financial statements in a timely and professional manner. Ensuring the integrity of how tax dollars are spent is essential to restoring the publics trust in government,” Taylor said.

In addition, Taylor understands the role her office has in securing personal information gathered during the course of an audit. With the help of new computer software and new policies improving the safety and security of personal information, clients and employees can trust that sensitive data is properly protected.

Taylor is also using her experience as a legislator and a Certified Public Accountant to promote measures to increase accountability and efficiency throughout state government. Taylor’s actions include:

  • Advocating for the inclusion of specific recommendations for Medicaid reform in the state budget. Taylor’s recommendations, some of which include joining purchase pools and increasing the use of generic drugs, will help save millions of taxpayer dollars and are a great start in reforming Ohio’s Medicaid program. In the coming weeks, Taylor plans to announce a series of roundtable discussions with interested parties throughout the state to address additional recommendations to improve efficiency and accountability in the delivery of Medicaid services.
  • Proposing legislation to help prevent and protect against fraud and corruption throughout state government by overhauling the internal auditing functions of state agencies. The legislation would require internal auditors to report their findings to an independent state audit committee. Reforming the reporting structure of internal auditors in state agencies creates transparency in a system that has failed the citizens of this state in the past.
  • Strengthening the financial oversight of charter schools by ceasing state funding for schools that fail to submit proper financial documents to conduct an effective audit. This will greatly reduce the potential for fraud, waste and abuse of public money. A recent audit identified nearly $1.4 million in alleged misspending and $1.5 million in mismanaged federal grant funds by a single Ohio charter school. Taylor has also announced a new program to train charter school managers and fiscal officers on how to comply with financial reporting requirements.
  • Increasing awareness of the office’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) which is responsible for investigating allegations of the misuse or theft of public funds.  Preventing, detecting and stopping fraud remains a top priority of this office. Since the beginning of the year, six people have been charged and five people convicted based upon SIU investigations. The unit is also participating in fourteen additional investigations.

During the past six months, Taylor has fought for accountability in the way state and local government spends taxpayer dollars. As Taylor’s recommendations and policy changes are implemented, Ohioans will continue to benefit from increased fraud detection within government, improved internal controls on how government spends tax dollars, and a vigorous defense of public funds.

The Ohio Auditor of State’s Office is one of the largest accounting offices in the nation.  The office strives to ensure that all public funds are spent legally and appropriately and works aggressively to root out fraud, waste and abuse in public spending. Taylor encourages anyone suspecting fraud or misspending of public dollars to contact her office toll free at 1-866-FRAUD-OH (1-866-372-8364).