Email insights: State Auditor Jim Zeigler’s “unusual and interesting” 2015 Year In Review

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The office of Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler sent out a 2015 “Year in Review” email Monday morning about the auditor’s first 11 months in office, claiming it may be “the most unusual and interesting ‘year in review’ report ever released by a secondary state official.”

Read the entire “year in review” below:

JANUARY
Gov. Bentley cancels the traditional inaugural prayer service, saying “there was not time.” Auditor-elect Jim Zeigler quickly steps up and hosts the prayer service himself.

Inaugurated Jan. 19. Inauguration Day is historically cold and bitter. Zeigler says he becomes auditor as “the sun shines bright in Montgomery.”

Declines his taxpayer subsidized state car, credit card, insurance, laptop, cell phone, Wi-Fi, and marble desk plate.

Requests that auditor’s office itself be audited by the Examiners of Public Accounts and also the Historical Commission which has 46 historic furnishings in his office. Both audits came back perfect – all accounted for.

Files request to return portraits of Governors George and Lurleen Wallace to their historical place in the capitol rotunda after their recent removal by the Director of Historic Sites.

Zeigler discovers scandal – auditor’s office has been operating without coffee. He quickly spends his own money to provide both staff and public visitors with fresh coffee.

FEBRUARY
Operated office without a receptionist, secretary, investigator or attorney (the state budget does not fund any of these positions).

Sits as a “Judge Judy” for the Board of Adjustment, hearing dozens of cases from citizens claiming money owed to them by the state. Board of Adjustment hearings continue through November.

Completes first new property inventories. 89 agencies audited through November.

MARCH
Requests that the Attorney General investigate and halt spending of taxpayers’ money by Baldwin County School system in campaigning for a tax increase. The AG took no action to protect taxpayers in this situation.

APRIL
Filed suit to stop local school boards from spending taxpayers’ money on elections for tax increases. Also plans to seek legislation to halt this problem in February 2016.

Led the effort to prevent the closure of state parks threatened by Gov. Bentley. Developed a plan to keep the parks open without a tax increase.

Participated in the 100th anniversary of the University of Alabama’s Student Government Association – where he was SGA President in 1971.

MAY
Began a study of safeguards to assure that only U.S. citizens register to vote in Alabama. Made his presentation “Only U.S. Citizens Should Vote in U.S. Elections” to the annual statewide conference of voter registrars in Eufaula.

JUNE
Kicked off his “All-Volunteer Army” plan to recruit citizens to assist in investigating reports of government waste and overreach. Citizens wishing to volunteer can contact Assistant State Auditor at: Hope.Curry@auditor.alabama.gov

Led the effort to return Confederate mementos removed from the capitol museum gift shop. They were returned.

Began accepting job applications for voter registrars in 66 of Alabama’s 67 counties – all but Jefferson County. He made 63 registrar hires by Oct. 1.

Attended the National Association of State Auditors conference in Little Rock AR, paying his own expenses plus winning a $1,000 national scholarship.

JULY
Began a study of Alabama’s $2 billion worth of state property and how it could be reduced.

Began a study of Alabama’s $50 million in surplus property and how it could be reduced.

Cut his office budget request by 8%.

AUGUST
Developed the first step in a two phase plan to recover state property reported as missing.

Obtained a study worth $100,000, at no expense to taxpayers, through Auburn University at Montgomery. The study covered options to enforce the findings of state audits, and recover missing property from those responsible.

SEPTEMBER
Organized citizens to fight a 63% cut in the state auditor’s budget that was passed by the State House of Representatives. The budget was partially restored to a 25% cut, which was still more than twice that of any other agency.

OCTOBER
Began process of slicing expenses in State Auditor’s office due to budget cut. Cut 30% of employees. Cut office overhead to below the bare minimum.

Prepared budget for fiscal year 2017.

NOVEMBER
Began preparing legislation for February, 2016 regular session.

DECEMBER
Finished the year having charged no reimbursements to the state. Zeigler personally paid all his own expenses.

Finished the last of 89 state agency audits.

Zeigler confronted and will continue to lead opposition to United Nations intrusion into the state of Alabama.

Zeigler led opposition to the Governor’s spending $1.5 million to restore the dilapidated “Governor’s Mansion on the Gulf” after Bentley lost his personal Gulf property in his divorce.

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