10/25/2010

Why I am the best qualified candidate for Missouri State Auditor.

Susan Montee’s website celebrates her experience as an attorney and CPA, which she feels makes her the most qualified candidate to be Missouri’s State Auditor. Tom Schweich proclaims how he loves to do audits. I readily concede that both Tom and Susan can do a better audit than I do. I would love to have them on my staff. However, the State Auditor has a staff of 125 people, many qualified to do a great audit. In fact, many of the audits are not even done by Susan. She just oversees them. Susan claims to have saved Missouri millions of dollars. However, there is no accounting of this, which is kind of ironical in that the State Auditor has no real verification that she has saved the state any money. The State Auditor’s budget is close to $5,000,000 and we really have no accounting of whether or not it pays for itself. What we need is an auditor that can actually save the state of Missouri money. Accountants are good at doing accounting, but not usually that good at achieving action and results. It takes a different skill. What we need is an auditor that can aggressively carry out the recommendations in the audit. How many of Susan’s staff’s recommendations are carried out? We don’t know. She does her audit, makes recommendations and moves on to the next audit. No real follow up. We live in a society that loves to create volumes of paper. In fact, we are overwhelmed by paper. In 2009, Susan had overseen 151 audits, thousands of pages all buried away somewhere read by almost no one, like the 2,200 page financial reform bill that no one reads and no one knows what it will mean. What we need today more than ever is simplicity, action, and leadership, not more audits. If the state auditors job is to do audits and provide transparency Susan has done a great job but if it is to actually save the state money I’m afraid she falls short. Accountants are great at counting the number of trees in the forest but often miss the forest.

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