Voters to decide on county audits

NOTES:—use the Decision 2000 bug

—use Gary Hooser mug if we have it

Voters to decide on county

audits

Council wants review authority

By DENNIS

WILKEN

TGI Staff Writer

LIHU’E—The Kaua`i County Council hopes voters

agree that county departments and the handling of public money by the county

should be audited.

Council members Wednesday unanimously passed a

resolution proposing a charter amendment that would allow them to independently

audit county funds and accounts using a certified public accountant, if

necessary.

The resolution, which also would allow the council to conduct

performance audits on county departments, will now go before the voters for

approval in the general election Nov. 7.

According to county clerk Peter A.

Nakamura, a simple majority of the voters is all that’s needed to make the

performance audit law.

Nakamura said that before this amendment, sponsored

by Councilman Gary Hooser, there was no mechanism in the county charter

allowing the council to audit the work being performed by county

departments.

If approved by the voters, performance audits could begin at

the council’s request 30 days after the election.

“This is an important

tool to evaluate efficiency” and promote accountability in the county budget,

Hooser said.

Councilman Randal Valenciano commented, “When this first came

forward, I had some concerns. But even if we adopt this, we can still do

line-item budgeting.”

The resolution would allow the council “to at any

time provide for a performance audit of any or all of the offices, agencies,

departments, programs and operations for which the county is

responsible.”

The resolution also provides for “testing of county offices,

agencies, programs and departments” and of “the internal control systems of

offices, agencies…to ensure that such systems are properly designed to

safeguard public assets against loss from waste, fraud, or error.”

The

council’s Finance Committee last week recommended approval of the audit

resolution.

There was little immediate reaction from department heads after

Wednesday’s vote.

“I don’t have anything to hide. The real question is what

specific thing (on each audit) would they be going to use it for,” said Wally

Rezentes Jr., director of finance.

Police chief George Freitas could not be

reached for comment about the effect of the resolution, if any, on his

department.

Staff writer Dennis Wilken can be reached at 245-3681

(ext. 252) and dwilken@pulitzer.net

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