LIHU’E — The Kaua`i County Council unanimously passed a county charter
amendment Wednesday that, if approved by voters in November, would enable the
council to order performance audits for county departments, including the
administration headed by Mayor Maryanne Kusaka.
The amendment was proposed
by Councilman Gary Hooser. No other council member signed off on the bill as a
co-sponsor, but it was passed unanimously.
The council-ordered performance
audits would be in addition to financial audits, which are already performed by
independent auditors contracted by the county administration.
audits are designed to determine, from a material point of view, the accuracy
of financial statements prepared by the administration, and are already
performed, said Wally Rezentes Sr., Kusaka’s administrative
Financial audits examine internal controls and procedures which
govern the receipt and dispersal of funds.
“In a nutshell,” a financial
audit tracks “where the money came from, where it went and how much was left at
the end of the period,” said Beth Tokioka, county spokeswoman.
Tokioka, the council’s performance audits, as proposed, are intended to measure
the productivity of the funds used.
“In other words,” she said, “what were
the results obtained after the funds were expended. What kind of bang are you
getting for your buck?”
Several county department heads have not returned
telephone calls inquiring about their views on a proposal to essentially
double-check their performances.
But Rezentes did comment.
performance audit as presently proposed is nice to have, but it could be very
expensive. The voter needs to determine if he or she is willing to pay for it,”
Hooser disagreed, saying, “The cost of the audit is directly
related to the scope of the audit. If we decided to audit the entire county,
that could very well be expensive. One department, not so expensive.
asked to give money (above the budgeted funds) by departments all the time. We
don’t have any mechanism that tells us if these departments are being run
properly, except customer complaints, if you will. This charter amendment gives
us a way to evaluate efficiency.”
Hooser pointed out that the state of
Hawai`i and the Big Island have performance audit capabilities.
years ago, the budget operations process was a line item and the mayor could
not spend money except specificially. Then two years ago, they (administration)
changed the process, giving the council less oversight,” Hooser
Performance audits would be contracted just as financial audits
currently are, according to Hooser.
“It doesn’t cost anything to approve
this. It doesn’t cost anything unless we use it,” he said.
writer Dennis Wilken can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) and