Agencies threatened with budget cuts for repeat audit problems - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Agencies threatened with budget cuts for repeat audit problems

Del. Guy Guzzone (By Howard County Library System on Flickr)

Del. Guy Guzzone (By Howard County Library System on Flickr)

By Sam Smith

Legislators hope to put more teeth into repeat audit findings of problems in state agencies. The Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Audit Committee agreed Tuesday to recommend that House and Senate budget committees and subcommittees consider cuts to administrative funding for agencies that have four or more repeat findings in consecutive audits.

The cuts would not affect programs run by agencies but would be strictly targeted toward administration. The committee hopes that its recommendations to the budget committees and Department of Legislative Services to include repeat audit findings in budget analyses will provide an enforcement tool for the Office of Legislative Audits.

The House chair of the Audit Committee, Del. Guy Guzzone, D-Howard, proposed the move at the previous hearing in mid-October.

“We had a discussion and there were a lot of ideas that were thrown around,” House chair, Guy Guzzone said. “I felt like there was general consensus on it.”

Committee recommendation was unanimous

When Guzzone recommended sending letters on Wednesday, the committee unanimously  agreed.

“They are going to make their own determination,” Guzzone said. “The recommendation is either accepted or rejected or modified. If the subcommittee feels that the recommendation dollar figure might be too much or too little, they can adjust that.”

Del. Gail Bates

Del. Gail Bates presents her bill that would allow the General Assembly to cut budgets of agencies with too many repeat audit findings.

Del. Gail Bates, R-Howard, suggested that letters also be sent to the Department of Legislative Services to ensure that repeat findings are included in its analyses of agency budgets. Bates was the lead sponsor of House Bill 843 earlier this year which called for cuts as high as 5% a year until auditors determine an agency has fixed its audit problems.

Guzzone says all that is needed is a procedure in place.

“It doesn’t need to be legislation,” he said. “It just needs to be a procedure established by the committees and DLS.”

About the author

Maryland Reporter is a daily news website produced by journalists committed to making state government as open, transparent, accountable and responsive as possible – in deed, not just in promise. We believe the people who pay for this government are entitled to have their money spent in an efficient and effective way, and that they are entitled to keep as much of their hard-earned dollars as they possibly can. Contact the author.

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