State Auditor Mary Mosiman.

Hundreds of city officials in Iowa are being encouraged to watch a video outlining their “essential responsibilities” for handling tax dollars. It’s a joint project of the Iowa League of Cities and State Auditor Mary Mosiman.

“We need to have consistent communication and education for not only the city clerks and administrative staff who handle taxpayer money, but also the elected officials who take an oath of office and have a fiduciary responsiblity,” Mosiman said this morning.

About 3000 newly-elected members of city councils throughout the state, along with every city clerk in Iowa, are getting an email about the video that was produced by the state auditor’s office. The video stresses that every expense in a city’s budget should be for a public purpose and more than one “set of eyes” should review every transaction to catch any “red flags.”

“The opportunity for fraud is significantly reduced if proper oversight, accountability and transparency is present,” Mosiman said. “My office issues 20-25 fraud reports every year. We currently have about 28 cases pending, with new situations being identified every week.”

Iowa League of Cities executive director Alan Kemp said the video sets the right tone about the importance of proper oversight of public funds.

“We think this is going to be a great video to be used all over the state,” Kemp said during a news conference.

The auditor’s office next plans to work with officials in Iowa school districts, counties and townships to develop separate video messages on how to catch fraud in each unit of government.