By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Saturday, July 11, State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) spoke to the Mid Alabama Republican Club (MARC) at their monthly meeting at the Vestavia Public Library.
Zeigler said, “I have seen in the last five months a tremendous disappointment on the part of our Republican voters in our Republican leaders.”
Zeigler said that it took Montgomery a little time to, “Get used to having a State auditor that questions everything that needs to be questioned and challenges everything that needs to be challenged…I have only been in office for five months but it seems like it has been five years. I did not intend to become the self-proclaimed opponent of political correctness. I did not intend to become the anti-Bentley; but that is how it has happened.”
The conservative State Auditor said, “I am not going to win Mr. Congeniality in Montgomery.”
Zeigler said that some of his critics said, “You’re making Gov. Bentley look bad.” Zeigler replied, “He didn’t need me for that.”
Zeigler said, that in addition to his auditor duties, he is doing things like, fighting political correctness, defending Southern Heritage, fighting taxpayer money used in political campaigns, and other needs as they come up.
Zeigler said that industrial recruitment should be done more at the local and private level since they are in a better position to bring in industry than Montgomery is.
On taxes Zeigler said, “Over 50 percent of our earnings are going to government at all levels. We need to let our hardworking people keep and spend more of their own money.”
On the current crisis Zeigler said that, “In every adversity there are the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. This budget shortfall has the seeds for a downsizing or a rightsizing of State government. This is the opportunity to right size and down size State government.”
Zeigler said that he told people during the election: “I was going to do thing that normally are not done by the State auditor.”
Zeigler said, “We are blessed to live in a State where each individual taxpayer has the authority and legal standing to complain petition or take to court a state agency that is spending tax dollars that violate a constitution, a statute, or a regulatory decree.”
Zeigler said that he is recruiting a team of volunteer auditor-citizens to identify waste, fraud, and abuse in State government and do something about it.
The auditor said that without effective inventory control things disappear. Zeigler said that one of the most lost items in State government is weapons. Zeigler said, “Over the last five years State employees have lost enough weapons to arm a terrorist army to take over goat hill.”
The problem is there is no collection enforcement recovery system in place. The auditor reports the item missing when they do an audit to the Attorney General’s office and then nothing happens.
Zeigler said that he and Auburn University in Montgomery are working on a plan with certified public property managers who already manage property for State agencies to come up with a plan to best hold the responsible parties accountable for this. “Hopefully we can find some options that do not require legislation or additional money.” That report is due on August 12.
Zeigler said that the audit is to be a deterrent to keep the State employees and the bureaucrats honest: “We are not going to let something go by that is waste and abuse in Montgomery.”