Faber recaps national recognitions
Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 31, 2023
COLUMBUS – The Auditor of State’s Office continued to receive national recognition for its work in 2023 as it assisted local governments in their financial reporting; combated waste, fraud, and abuse of public resources; and informed Ohioans about how their tax dollars are being managed.
“The Ohio Auditor of State’s Office is, without a doubt, the best state auditor’s office in the country, and that’s testimony to the hard work the professionals in this office do every day,” Auditor Keith Faber said. “Since taking office in 2019, we have continued to raise the bar and set new standards for the examination of public resources and their transparent usage. I could not be prouder of work being done by the dedicated members of our team on behalf of Ohio taxpayers.”
Among notable accomplishments for 2023:
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For the calendar year, the Auditor of State’s Office released reports on 2,460 financial statement audits, 607 agreed upon procedure engagements, and 457 basic audits. These included 153 findings for recovery totaling nearly $2.7 million from 114 different entities. Full audit reports for 5,900-plus public offices are available online (ohioauditor.gov/auditsearch/search.aspx).
Among other accolades, the Auditor of State’s Office again received the Certificate in Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its Annual Comprehensive Financial Report, marking the 29th consecutive year the office’s work has received the association’s top honors.
The Auditor of State’s Office developed an extensive Frequently Asked Questions document, providing guidance for school districts and other political subdivisions related to levy and bond issue campaigns.
The Auditor of State’s Office worked with the state legislature and the governor’s office on a number of priority issues, including securing an additional $3.5 million in funding for the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). Additionally, it worked with the General Assembly to pass legislation that requires public officials to report suspected fraud more quickly; improvements to the legal process for dissolving Ohio villages; and continued work to improve and expand College Credit Plus (CCP) offerings for middle- and high-school students.
SIU assisted in 20 convictions, including 11 for theft in office, with restitution totaling $3.3 million. Notable cases included a Vinton Township fiscal officer who used public funds to purchase two wildebeest and other animals, equipment, and supplies for his roadside zoo and the former Athens County Metropolitan Housing Authority director, who stole $2.3 million. An interactive map with details on each case is available online (ohioauditor.gov/publicintegrity/default.html).
SIU was one of four offices nationally receiving Excellence in Accountability Awards from the National State Auditors Association for its forensic audit report covering the investigation of a former employee of the Clark County Auditor’s Office, convicted in the theft of $1.8 million.
The Ohio Performance Team, which examines the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs and functions, released nine projects, including a cost study showing the benefits of the state’s College Credit Plus Program on participating colleges and universities; recommendations for improvements to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources inland lakes dredging program; and a public interest audit of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Office of Workforce Development programs. Full details on all of OPT’s 2023 reports are available online (ohioauditor.gov/Performance/Default.html).