Exceptional Qualifications and Private Sector Experience
A Watchdog for Taxpayers and Oklahoma
Government must have the confidence of the people it serves. That’s why accountability is so important.
I will be a voice for all Oklahomans, and we, I and the professional staff of the State Auditor’s office, will pursue more accountability and efficiencies in state government.
Where we find waste and mismanagement, we will hold government and the responsible people accountable.
Where we find fraud and abuse, we will expose it.
We will work to make government work better. My office will identify causes of delays and inefficiencies, like outmoded procedures or other systemic failures, root them out and pursue the excellence that Oklahoma deserves.
Here are my priorities.
1. Whistleblower protections and fighting waste and corruption
As recent scandals at the State Health Department show, fear of retaliation has prevented state employees from being responsible in reporting misuse of funds and waste in government.
In order to encourage whistleblowers to come forward, I will establish a confidential hotline to report fraud, waste and abuse.
As State Auditor, my office will aggressively pursue charges through the proper channels against corrupt public officials who abuse their power, especially those who target funds for the elderly and vulnerable citizens.
2. Budget clarity and spending controls
As an independent watchdog, I will give an honest assessment of Oklahoma’s budget. This is especially true given the state’s ever-recurring budget crises. Oklahomans deserve a State Auditor who will provide a tough, but fair review of our state finances.
We need greater clarity in the budgeting process so taxpayers can understand the true cost of government services. The actual return on budgeted funds should be determined for each state agency as well as other management metrics that will guide and measure each agency in providing efficient and excellent services to the general public.
Our state budgets should not only be understandable, but also honest and transparent. No more creative accounting gimmicks to balance state budgets, which are unsustainable.
I will also work with other elected officials to identify and eliminate duplication in state government. Oklahoma families and businesses have to live within their means. State government should too.
3. Effective audits and follow-up
With effective audits and internal control reviews, we can change the way officials around the state do business.
By identifying poor contracting practices, following up on past audits, protecting free and fair bidding, stopping public benefits fraud, and implementing better electronic systems and procedures, we can bring accountability and modernization to state government.
- For example, millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on past audits. Rather than letting them simply sit on a shelf and collect dust with no legislative follow up, we will perform follow-ups to update prior audits and make sure agency remedies are in place and working.
- At a time when officials are dealing with funding gaps throughout state government, we must ensure that public benefits, like welfare and unemployment, are not going to those who are not entitled to them. Likewise, we need to make sure benefits reach those who truly need them in a timely manner.
- In terms of bidding, Oklahoma has a policy of contracting for services and materials in a cost-effective manner through the use of an open and competitive contract solicitation process. We must ensure sole source contracts awarded to a vendor without a competitive bid are reserved for the truly extraordinary circumstances allowed by state law
- Agencies must have effective internal controls to ensure that applicants meet the various eligibility requirements governing their programs. We must ensure that granted funds are only used for proper purposes specified in the grants. We should examine whether respective state programs are truly benefitting the state as a whole or only select, politically powerful entities who are misusing the system to benefit themselves at everyone else’s expense.
4. Open records/sunshine
By creating more accountability and transparency we can promote fiscal responsibility and a more productive government.
That’s why I will be a strong proponent of the Open Records Act and ensuring government officials at all levels abide by Freedom of Information guarantees.
5. Partnering with local governments, non profits and private companies
The State Auditor can help ensure that local governments, not-for-profits and private companies are treated fairly and operate with best practices where public funds are concerned.
* For example, ensuring that government agencies do not improperly retain money rightly owed to citizens and businesses is one way to help.
* To help local governments, we will create a website with tools to better serve taxpayers, increase efficiency and save costs.
* Likewise, we will educate not-for-profits and other state grant recipients on how to better manage the grant process and meet program requirements.
* Finally we will work to ensure that state and local governments keep pace with technological innovation in order to improve operations and services for taxpayers, especially through the use of innovative data analytics tools.