Devlin votes to make CT government more accountable

To better improve state government efficiency and management, State Rep. Laura Devlin (Fairfield & Trumbull) strongly supported a proposal requiring the legislature to hold public hearings when a report is issued by the Auditors of Public Accounts.

The legislation, HB-5944, An Act Requiring Public Hearings on Reports of the Auditors of Public Accounts requires that legislative committees hold public hearings on reports issued by the Auditors of Public Accounts within 180 days.

“This is all about accountability. State agencies need to heed what the State Auditors have uncovered and look for ways to rectify any issues with their audit. Connecticut residents deserve a state government that is responsive, well-organized, and is not wasteful of their hard-earned tax dollars,” said Rep. Laura Devlin, the head House Republican on the Government Administration and Elections committee. “If the auditors see a bad practice; common sense says, it should be fixed, not ignored. These public hearings will hold the agencies’ feet to the fire.”

Presently, the State Auditors’ Office attempts to audit each state agency once every two years.

Under state law, the Auditors are only allowed to report issues and make recommendations; they have no enforcement authority. Therefore, there are no consequences to agencies that are not following state law.

This lack of accountability has led to instances inside our state agencies where:

  • We lack paperwork for well over half of our state employees on Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

  • Department of Social Services’ state benefits have gone to dead people in Connecticut.

  • Vacation and comp time by state workers are insufficiently tracked.

  • Abuses of overtime have occurred.

The bill would require state agencies throughout state government to report to their legislative committee of cognizance within 180 days of publication of the report. The hearing would be specifically for the purpose of listening to the commissioner of the specific state agencies speak about the recommendations from the Auditors and the steps the agency is taking to fix the problems discussed in the Auditors report.

The legislative committee having cognizance over the agency that the report was issued about must hold a hearing unless the report contains no violations of state statue or regulation, contains only minor or technical recommendations, or the chairs determine the report does not necessitate a public hearing.

The Connecticut Auditors of Public Accounts testified in favor of the legislation. The job of the Auditors of Public Accounts to serve the public interest regarding financial and compliance matters related to the State of Connecticut. As Connecticut's state auditors, they are tasked to provide independent, unbiased and objective opinions and recommendations on the operations of state government and the state's effectiveness in safeguarding its assets. The Auditors of Public Accounts work to assist state agencies in achieving sound fiscal management and the efficient use of state resources.

The bill passed the Government Administration and Elections committee by a vote of 13-4 and now heads to the House of Representatives for a full floor debate.

The office of the Auditors of Public Accounts is a legislative agency of the State of Connecticut whose primary mission is to conduct audits of all state agencies. Included in such audits is an annual Statewide Single Audit of the State of Connecticut to meet federal requirements. The office is under the direction of two state auditors appointed by the state legislature. The professional staff of just over one hundred includes many certified public accountants (CPA) and certified fraud examiners (CFE).