State Auditor Says Political Shenanigans Could Cost Taxpayers

Friday, March 3rd 2017, 6:09 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

The state auditor says he’s the victim of political shenanigans, and that could wind up costing taxpayers plenty. 

Part of the state auditor’s job is to make sure counties are spending taxpayer dollars properly. But that could change under legislation the auditor said, in his words, “blindsided him”.  

“To me it reduces the amount of transparency and accountability which is what our office provides,” said State Auditor Gary Jones.

Jones has never been one to keep his opinions to himself. Now, a bill by two legislators, Representative Dustin Roberts (R) District 21, and Senator Jason Smalley (R) District removes the requirement that the state auditor would audit counties, and gives counties the option to hire private auditors that could, potentially, could give counties a more favorable review. 

Jones said this seems to be a case of politicians helping politicians at the taxpayers’ expense.

“I think a lot of it’s pandering. I mean, it’s people pandering to certain elected officials out there,” said Jones.

And frankly, Jones said, his office does a better job than outside agencies could.

“We uncover a lot of things. And we have had people complain that we’ve been a little tougher than what they thought we should be, but we represent the citizens, you know?  We’re the people’s watchdog,” said Jones.

News 9 reached out to Roberts and Smalley, neither responded to the request for a comment.