BRAMNICK CALLS FOR ACTION ON LEGISLATION AUTHORIZING AUDITS TO UNCOVER WASTE

BILL CALLS FOR STATE AUDITOR TO CONDUCT UNANNOUNCED AUDITS OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND PROGRAMS

Citing the recent discovery of rampant waste and questionable spending in the Union City school district, Assembly Republican Whip Jon Bramnick today renewed his call for action on legislation he has sponsored that would allow for unannounced performance audits of state or state-supported agencies.

“This is just the latest example of auditors digging into the activities of a government agency and uncovering gross misuse of tax dollars,” said Bramnick, R-Union, Morris, Somerset and Essex. “My bill would expand the use of forensic audits so that we could root out exactly this type of wasteful and unnecessary spending.”

An audit of the Union City school district revealed that the school district pays $13,000 a month for 39 cell phones for bus drivers which equates to $345/month per each cell phone. The same audit revealed other wasteful spending including a $26,097 monthly payment for website development, $11,600 in advertising costs to promote the opening of a new school, $9,268 for hotel expenses for an out-of-state administrative retreat, $2,600 for a staff party, $2,315 for a student field trip to the Medieval Times, and $1,716 for a wall-mounted LCD Flat Panel TV for a Human Resources office.

Additionally, the state auditor recently found serious flaws in the state’s monitoring of Medicaid expenses, including examples of equipment providers who improperly billed Medicaid for $2.1 million during one 30-month period reviewed.

Bramnick’s bill, A-222, would require the Office of the State Auditor, at the request of a member of the Legislature, to conduct an unannounced performance audit of any program of a State or State-supported agency. A performance audit examines the economy, efficiency or effectiveness of a specific program of a State or State-supported agency.

When conducting performance audits, the Auditor will utilize the services of a “Performance Audit Committee,” established under the bill, consisting of eight members of the public selected based upon education and experience in the fields of accounting, business administration, or economics.

“Not only would these audits help us to uncover existing waste and save taxpayer dollars, they may also serve a deterrent effect,” Bramnick said. “If government officials know that they could be subject to an unannounced audit at any time, they might be a lot more careful about how they are spending our tax dollars.”

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