Editor’s note: This press release was issued on 8/3/2010. Note the link at the end of the press release. By clicking on it, one can see the report issued by State Auditor Mary Taylor’s office of the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s office audit. The Cuyahoga County cronyism is duly noted (though it isn’t called “cronyism” in this press release–“overstaffed” is the operative word). Cuyahoga County voters approved a new home-rule style of government in an effort to get a handle on the corruption, but the new government structure, by itself, isn’t enough to turn the tide. As I wrote two years ago about the county’s corruption when endorsing Annette Butler for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, ” . . . there is a political dimension to the corruption that grips Cuyahoga County. It has everything to do with the Democrat Party.” Voters won’t see the hoped for turnaround in any significant way if the Democrat machine pulls off a clean sweep of a new round of elections in the county. Voters need to elect some sensible Republicans who have vowed to bring an end to business-as-usual–not just the cronyism, but the shakedowns of businesses and other organizations brokered by Democrat operatives over the years that have made the region less economically competitive than other regions. As I wrote following the 2008 elections, ” . . . corruption exists among northern Ohio Democrat politicians, it’s taking its toll on the region’s economy, and that re-electing those Democrats won’t solve the problem.” In the case of the impending Cuyahoga County elections, “those” Democrats doesn’t literally mean the electing the exact same Democrat individuals that held office before, as new names of Democrat individuals on the ballots mean diddly-squat if it so happens to be that they are linked with the same Democrat machine that the county needs to break free of. Elect Republicans, for it will be easier to clean house that way. But I digress, as this press release is to promote legislation that will improve government transparency through the audit process. HB 65 was introduced more than a year ago by state reps Todd Snitchler of the 50th Ohio House district and Peter Stautberg of the 34th Ohio House district.
Statewide Bipartisan Legislation Idle While County-Level Audits Reveal Cost-Savings
Taylor: Cuyahoga Auditor’s Office Overstaffed, Inefficient
Columbus—The Ohio House of Representatives minority caucus today commended Ohio Auditor of State Mary Taylor, who released a performance audit of the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s Office and reminded the House majority that the bipartisan cosponsored, House Bill 65—which would increase state efficiency through similar audits—has only received one committee hearing.
Taylor provided the county’s new charter government with nearly two dozen recommendations that could save county taxpayers $2,289,000 annually if fully implemented. “Cuyahoga County taxpayers deserve well-organized and efficient government services,” she said. “This report can serve as a guide to charter government officials as they organize the county’s new fiscal office following their election this November.”
“Today’s report identifies further faults in what has been revealed over the past two years as a corrupt local government,” said House Republican Leader William G. Batchelder (R-Medina). “A close examination of the report identifies avoidable costly burdens to the taxpayers, such as overpaid, excessive staffing and a less efficient operation than in comparable-sized county offices.”
At the state level, Representatives Todd Snitchler (R-Uniontown) and Peter Stautberg (R-Anderson Township) worked to implement performance audits of state agencies through HB 65, which was introduced in March 2009. When enacted, this legislative measure would require performance budgeting by most state agencies and ensure efficient state spending. However, to date, the proposal has only received sponsor testimony in the House Ways and Means Committee.
“Performance audits are a smart, effective way to estimate the effectiveness of government operations and are a practice that is frequently used in the private sector,” said Snitchler. “My legislative colleagues and I applaud Auditor Taylor on this valuable tool she has conducted to improve operations, identify cost savings and utilize existing resources in the most efficient manner possible.”
Last year, Cuyahoga County Commissioners and the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s Office passed a joint resolution authorizing the Auditor of State to conduct a performance audit of the County Auditor’s Office. A copy of the complete audit is available here.