Audits hold government accountableMar 08, 2023 03:20PM ● By Aimee Winder Newton
One of my core principles as an elected official is to provide transparency to the public so that you can help hold government accountable. I am a big fan of auditing our departments and programs as a vital part of that process. The Salt Lake County Council has been working closely with County Auditor Chris Harding to ensure accountability and appropriate use of your tax dollars.
The Salt Lake County Auditor plays a crucial role in ensuring transparency, accountability, and integrity in the county government. As an independent office, the auditor is responsible for conducting impartial and objective audits that provide the public with a clear understanding of the county's operations.
The auditor's primary objective is to protect taxpayer dollars from fraud, waste, and abuse by reviewing the county's internal controls, records, systems and procedures. The auditor's office evaluates the county's compliance with laws and regulations, assesses the accuracy and completeness of financial information, and identifies areas for improvement in the county's financial management practices. The auditor's office also provides recommendations to the county council and county administration to help improve the county's operations.
One of the ways the auditor's office provides transparency to the public is by publishing regular audit reports that summarize its findings and recommendations. These reports are accessible to the public and provide an in-depth analysis of the county's operations. You can find these reports at www.slco.org/auditor. The auditor's office also works closely with the county council to provide regular briefings on its audit findings and recommendations. You can find recent reports on the justice court, solid waste management, and animal services among many more.
The county council has supported the auditor's office by voting to support HB358, county auditor amendments (strengthening our independence), providing funding for additional auditor positions, and working closely with the auditor's office to ensure that its recommendations are implemented.
Recently, the auditor presented findings that some of our county policies are outdated and should be modified to meet the current practices of county operations. This collaborative approach is beneficial to make sure we have an efficient delivery of services.
I believe one of the most important roles for an elected official is acting as a steward of your tax dollars. Residents entrust us to judiciously use funds to perform essential functions for the community, and as such residents expect that every dollar spent by the government will be carefully scrutinized. Auditing helps us ensure that the county's operations are managed effectively and efficiently.