At any given point during the year, the State Controller’s Office is typically conducting 200 to 300 different audits, and local governments have been no stranger to these efforts and increased scrutiny. In fact, since taking office in 2007, the controller’s audit findings through State and local investigations have now totaled more than $3 billion, which is more than any other Controller in recorded State history.
State Controller John Chiang commented the following about the work of his office:
“Unchecked spending is an invitation for misspending. My audits offer an inside-look at state and local checkbooks, and show us where fiscal practices need serious improvement. These findings can lead to real taxpayer savings, and every dollar rescued is one that we don’t have to take away from education, public safety, or other essential services.”
Prominent audit findings at the local level and beyond include:
Bell: Illegal Property Taxes and Unlawful Spending
Hercules: Currently being audited
Montebello: No-bid contracts and lax spending controls
You can find a list of the Controller’s audits of state and local agencies here.
Revenue Audits can be seen here.
Oversight of Independent Auditor Findings of Education and Local Government Agencies: see here.
Notably, the controller used the announcement about his overall audit findings to note that he would continue to push for expanded authority. Chiang’s press release states the following: “The Controller's office was flooded with requests audits of more than 200 local governments across California. In order to meet those demands and better protect taxpayer dollars at the local level, the Controller introduced legislation to broaden his office's auditing abilities. While those bills stalled in the last legislation session, the Controller will continue to push to expand his office's ability to protect taxpayer dollars through financial audits.”