State Auditor Dave Vaudt says the number of requests for a state audit of local government financial records has increased dramatically in the past year. In the month of May alone, Vaudt’s office released three completed audits.
"We still have almost two dozen pending investigations," Vaudt says. Just over a year ago, Vaudt released an audit concluding top managers at a central Iowa job training agency were being paid lavish salaries. Vaudt says the publicity surrounding that scandal is probably why more county and city officials are coming forward and asking for audits of records on a variety of local government operations.
"I think people are asking questions…and they have brought a lot of things to our attention," Vaudt says. Vaudt worked on the audit of the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium and may be called to testify in court when those who’ve been charged in connection with the scandal go on trial. In a typical year, Vaudt’s office handles about a dozen audits. This year, the auditor has released seven audits.
"Obviously what we’re looking at is some cases because of fraud that is taking place currently we sometimes need to move in quickly and try and stop the damage. In other cases, it just takes a little bit longer," Vaudt says. "It’s a huge workload. We’re hopeful at some stage we’ll start to see a decline again."