Monday, December 08, 2008

The New Mexico State Auditors Office

Anyone who has read this blog for more than a few seconds
knows that I am a big fan of impartial audits of government
agencies, primarily and immediately, the leadership of the APS.

The State Auditors Office has that responsibility in NM.

Scandals like the Courthouse Scandal take place because
they are not audited closely enough.

If all of the players in the courthouse scandal knew upfront,
that the books would be forensically audited at the end of the
project, would Manny Aragon and his cronies have even
attempted to steal millions of dollars from tax payers?

My guess is no.

So why aren't these crooks afraid of the Auditor's Office?

State Auditor Hector Balderas shines some light on the issue;

The SAO has only 3 Special Investigations Division senior
audit managers for nearly 700 governmental agencies.

... we are severely underfunded at all levels.
We only have 33 employees total to cover all of state,
county, municipal, and quasi governmental entities.

Over eighty percent of those employees are committed to
financial audits, contracts, review, training, and public filings.

We are one of the smallest agencies at all levels of government.
We should be one of the largest.
It would appear that policy writers and budget makers,
would rather that the State Auditor's Office
be underfunded and understaffed. Why?

I would submit that there is no good and ethical reason.

Mr. Balderas adds;
I really have tried to bring more accountability in government.

I have encountered resistance and retaliation at all levels.

I am not going to give up and will always counter with pro-active solutions.

We have to create systematic reform by redirecting our funding priorities.

We also have to continue to recruit the next generation of honest individuals
who want to serve our citizens. One does not work without the other.

I have submitted an aggressive budget request to increase our staffing by thirty percent.
I would have to agree that there is at least one agency in government, where increased funding is justified. Beyond that, I would argue that the word "justified" is not nearly a powerful enough word.

Honest and impartial auditing of government spending is as
critical as any aspect of governance, more even.

The thirty percent increase in spending at the Auditor's Office
will return far more to stakeholders.

Try to imagine how many tax dollars would be saved,
if State Auditor Balderas had the resources he needs
to make it impossibly difficult to hide public corruption.

Mr. Balderas concluded his email to me with;
I hope you will help us advocate for greater and
just investment in the SAO.
I will.

And so should you.


Anonymous said...

That took a lot of guts to say in writing, and publicly.
Bravo, Hector, Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Hector, you now have my vote.

ched macquigg said...

When have you heard a politician actually admit to the "culture of corruption" in New Mexico? How can a problem be solved, if no one will admit that it exists?

And further, what other politician has ever pointed to the "... resistance and retaliation at all levels."

Hector Balderas appears to have character and courage in spades, and you are right, he has earned voter support.