by Robert J. Kane
On February 3, 2017, I had the honor of becoming State Auditor. Looking back, there was so much to learn when I joined the Auditors of Public Accounts (APA), but with the help of fellow State Auditor John Geragosian and our amazing team, the transition was rather smooth.
Learning the “ins and outs” did not take long, as support from throughout the agency was overwhelming. The incredibly talented and dedicated APA staff are professional and committed to the work they do for our state. We are the General Assembly’s “eyes and ears” inside state agencies and thrive on working to make state government more accountable and efficient.
In my nine years in the State Senate, I wish I had interacted with the APA more. Serving in my new role, I now realize what a valuable resource our office is for legislators and legislative employees. We can assist them as they shape fiscal policy for years to come.
Our work is crucial to the stability of our state’s finances, securing federal funding, and ensuring state agency compliance. The work we do on whistleblower cases, in conjunction with the Attorney General, provides all citizens the opportunity to expose waste, fraud and corruption without threat of retaliation.
Being the only state to have two state auditors from differing parties creates a bipartisan office that eschews partisan politics and promotes fairness and transparency. As budget constraints and fiscal matters continue to dominate the debate, now more than ever the APA can be a true partner with the legislature in preserving state resources, protecting taxpayer dollars, and acting as the watchdog over fiscal matters.
We continually work to build these relationships and, in a short period of time, we have already surveyed our stakeholders to better serve them. We are redeveloping our website and improving the look of our reports. With these improvements, the APA seeks to build on our already exemplary reputation among government agencies and encourage greater communication with those we serve.
During 2017, our auditors completed 29 audits of state and quasi-public agencies and made 398 audit recommendations. During the past calendar year, these agencies have implemented approximately 43% of our prior recommendations.
Our audit approach entails, among other procedures, an examination and verification of financial statements, accounting records, and supporting documents; a determination of the agency’s compliance with statutory and budgetary requirements; an evaluation of the agency’s internal control structure; verification of the collection and proper handling of state revenue; and an examination of expenditures charged to state appropriations. Our audit reports consist of findings and recommendations and, where appropriate, certified financial statements setting forth the condition and operations of the state funds involved.
In accordance with Section 2-90 of the General Statutes, we report any unauthorized, illegal, irregular, or unsafe handling or expenditure of state funds to the Governor, the State Comptroller, the clerk of each house, and the Attorney General. We report these matters in our audit reports or by formal letter. We collectively report less serious matters such as minor losses and acts of vandalism.
State loss reports filed in 2017 with this office and the State Comptroller, in accordance with Section 4-33a of the General Statutes, disclosed approximately 308 losses, primarily through theft, vandalism, and inventory shortages involving an aggregate loss of $1,966,360.
This is excerpted from the Auditors of Public Accounts 2017 Annual Report, issued earlier this year, including a Message from State Auditor Robert J. Kane and portions of the Auditing State Agencies section of the report. Kane is a former Republican member of the Connecticut Senate, representing the 32nd District from 2009 to 2017.