Academic journal article The Government Accountants Journal

Performance Audits: A Solution to California's Budget Crisis?

Academic journal article The Government Accountants Journal

Performance Audits: A Solution to California's Budget Crisis?

Article excerpt

IN May 1995, California State Controller Kathleen Connell announced a major reorganization of her office as the result of a performance audit that she commissioned. According to her office, the performance audit will save $27 million over the next five years and cut staff by 12 percent. The July 1995 issue of the Controller's Quarterly reported that the Controller's Office is reducing the number of offices by 50 percent as well as reducing the number of operating divisions and improving productivity services. The Quarterly also reported that the Controller's Office was able to return $3 million to the State General Fund as a result of the performance audit completed by KPMG Peat Marwick LLP in May 1995.

Connell believes performance audits could be used to bring about similar changes throughout state government. She has proposed independent performance audits of state agencies. counties, California State and University of California systems, the Community College system and the Public Employees Retirement systems. Under Connell's proposal, each audit would be reported and publicly disclosed to the taxpayers, However, a similar Connell sponsored proposal requiring state-wide performance audits was defeated in the state senate.

Many believe that Connell, a Democrat and possible gubernatorial candidate, would be expanding her powers beyond that of her elected office by performing these audits. Since 1969, the State Auditor has retained the authority to do performance audits, along with the authority to access confidential records and issue subpoenas.

The issue raises many questions: should these powers be shared with or transferred to an elected official? …

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