By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Adam Thompson, a Republican candidate for State Auditor, issued a statement applauding the passage of House Bill 350 by the Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday. HB350 is sponsored by Representative Ed Henry (R) from Hartselle. If passed HB 350 will place the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts under the authority of the State Auditor, where it was until the State Legislature moved it in 1939.
Adam Thompson said, “When I started campaigning over a year ago, I said that the State Auditor’s Office needs to be strengthened. This bill will do just that. This is an important change in state government that will go a long way in helping ensure government is accountable to the people it serves. I appreciate Representative Henry and the members of the House of Representatives for passing this important legislation. I’m glad the Legislature recognizes the need for an independent and strong State Auditor.” Thompson continued.”
House Bill 350 takes the Examiner of Public Accounts Office and moves it to the Alabama State Auditor’s Office, which is where it was originally.
Rep. Henry requires that the Deputy Examiner of Public Account have either 8 years of experience as an examiner of public accounts or 8 years of experience as a CPA.
Rep. Steve Clouse (R) from Ozark said during the debate, “I have served on this oversight committee for 15 years, there are some needs that need to be addressed. There is talk the other way: that the Auditor’s office should be abolished and put into the Examiner of Public Accounts.” Republican candidate for Auditor Ray Bryan has been a vocal proponent for abolishing the Auditor position. Bryan however was reportedly disqualified by the Alabama Republican Party for an undisclosed matter.
Alabama has an elected State Auditor, but the Auditor does not actually do audits. Instead the Auditor’s office maintains an inventory of state assets, such as land, buildings, computers, vehicles, bulldozers, staplers, copying machines, desks, pencils, etc. Actual audits of government finances in the state of Alabama are performed by the Public Examiner’s Office.
This arrangement was not always this way. Previously the elected independent State Auditor actually oversaw the audits, but the state legislature reserved that power for itself in 1939, leaving the State Auditor with its current diminished role as maintainer of the state’s inventory. HB 350 restores the constitutional office of State Auditor to its original role under Alabama’s 1901 Constitution.
Currently the State Auditor’s Office is tasked with auditing property assets totaling $2 billion. The State Auditor is elected every four years and is limited to only two four-year terms. On the other hand, the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts reports directly to the Alabama Legislature through an appointed director.
HB 350 has been passed out of the full Alabama House of Representatives and goes to the Senate for their consideration.
Adam Thompson said, “I will continue to work to make sure the people of Alabama have the transparency, efficiency, and accountability they both expect and deserve from their government. I look forward to implementing these changes as Alabama’s next State Auditor.”
The Republican Primary is June 3rd.