Jim Zeigler to announce emergency measures to keep State Auditor’s office operating

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State Auditor Jim Zeigler will make speech at the Montgomery Capital Rotary Club on Thursday announcing emergency measures his office will take in order to keep the State Auditor’s office operating following three years of budget cuts.

Zeigler says his office has been slashed by 28.5% since he took office in 2015. According to Zeigler the budget is $368,000 below the minimum needed to audit the state’s $1.9 billion worth of state property items.

“This marks the third year in a row that our budget has been cut,” Zeigler said. “We are $368,400 below sea level. With the severe cuts the previous two years, we cannot do our constitutional job of property inventories with this latest cut.  We had already cut everything we could after the last two budget cuts, so there is nothing left to cut.”

The State Auditor is responsible for inventorying state property items worth $500.00 or more, plus all weapons and sensitive items. When Zeigler took office in January 2015, the office had $1,066,922 to operate. With three budgetary cutbacks in a row, the office will have only $762,575 starting October 1.

“We have already dropped from 11 full-time and 1 part-time to six full-time and twi part-time employees,” Zeigler added. “We dropped from five field auditors to two full-time and one part-time to audit the entire state.”

In order to adjust for the cuts thus far, the State Auditor’s office has already made the following cuts:

  • Discontinued the cell phone contract for the auditors
  • Cut office supply budget
  • Delayed replacing aging vehicles used by auditors
  • Transferred three vehicles to other agencies to reduce insurance since we have lost field auditors
  • Cut overnight travel and only allow daily travel by the auditors
  • Reduced the number of allowable miles for each auditor to travel from their home base to reduce vehicle fuel and maintenance costs
  • Delayed replacing computers and printers
  • Cut state travel to national property management conferences
  • Reduced office space that was being leased.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Article indicates drop in employees from 11 to 6 with 2 part timers. But next sentence says auditors have been reduced from 5 to 2 and one part timer. How many employees does it take to, well, you know the rest.
    Additional cuts include discontinuing cellular benefits for the 2 full time and one part time auditor. Not a big impact. The next is a cut in office supplies. Please tell me the historical cost for office supplies for each employee. Then, the Auditors office is tightening up by keeping aged vehicles a bit longer. Actually, the “savings” is simply pushing the costs down the road. How many of you can afford to buy a new vehicle simply because it exceeds some arbitrary mileage limit? I really appreciate the Auditors office transferring three vehicles to other agencies since they have fewer auditors. This saves the overall budget how?
    Reducing multi-night travel will only result in more day trips resulting in less actual work being accomplished. Imagine having to travel from Montgomery to Mobile to perform a audit that typically takes three days. Auditor must leave fairly early to drive the three hours to Mobile in time for lunch before heading back in order to make it back to Montgomery before quitting time. Guess the auditor has to make three single day trips to save couple nights of hotel expense. Does this logic pass the smell test?
    How many of you sleep better knowing the Auditors office, or any other state office, is saving money by reducing the number of “allowable” miles each auditor can travel from their home to the office, in a state car! Save money and drive your personal vehicle to work each day like the rest of the taxpayers….
    How many of you have replaced your personal year old computer just to get the latest commercial offering? Remember, even though we think we need a faster computer or bigger hard drive, your computer is virtually idle a really high percentage of the time. Kinda like some minds…And maybe video conferencing versus traveling to distant cities to attend property management conferences might be a thing to look at. But then again, taking a look at how other states account for their property might convey some ideas…..
    Is it possible to identify expenses by line item starting with the highest and that would be salaries… I have to remember this is a state agency auditing the states property. Who is auditing the auditor?
    Nothing new here. Now move along.

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