By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, April 7, Alabama State auditor Jim Zeigler (R) released new audits of 13 State agencies. Zeigler reports that the results were all perfect. In all 13 State agencies all the property on inventory was accounted for. Auditor Zeigler said that the agencies audited had 2,561 items of state property worth $7,001,842.24 and all of it was accounted for.
Zeigler told a Guntersville meeting of the Marshall County Republican Party, “We are putting in new safeguards against loss. The word is spreading that there is a new auditor in town and that we are serious about being better stewards of the taxpayers’ money.”
Zeigler said that when he ran for State auditor he had, “A plan to turn the State auditor’s office into a strong monitor of how tax dollars are spent in Montgomery.”
The agencies newly audited include: the Alabama Public Service Commission with 476 items worth $1,032,051.00; Alabama Industrial Development Training/Mercedes with 837 items worth $1,914,633.94; Alabama State Employees Insurance Board with 346 items worth $1,664,749.00 and ten more.
Zeigler said that the agencies possess about two billion dollars of State property “all paid for by the taxpayers.” Zeigler promises to finish more property audits of additional State agencies by May.
The State auditor is task with inventorying each item of State property worth $500.00 or more. These include item like computers, cars and trucks, bulldozers, tractors, tools, copying machines and other equipment and machinery.
Historically the Auditor was also tasked with monitoring the spending of State agencies and doing audits of State agencies. However that function was inexplicably taken away from the Auditor’s office in 1939 and placed directly underneath the legislative branch itself. That office is the Examiner of Public Accounts. Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) during the last session proposed merging the two agencies back under the elected auditor. That legislation failed to work its way through the legislature before the 2014 session timed out. Other people including one candidate for Auditor have proposed abolishing the Auditor (which is a constitutional officer) and placing the Auditor’s inventory responsibilities within the office of the appointed Examiner of Public Accounts.
Zeigler said, “Lost cars, lost laptops, lost cell phones – we have got to be better stewards of the taxpayers’ property.”
Jim Zeigler served previously as Public Service Commissioner and has run for several State offices in the past including Governor.