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State Auditor Susan Montee was in the Ozarks this week to release the findings of an audit of the Taney County Ambulance District. Montee’s office found that the district failed to document why a retired administrator was given several benefits which were not outlined in his contract. Her office further said in its report that the Taney County Ambulance District is missing a formal purchasing policy, and that it needs to improve the way it holds and documents meetings. Before driving down to Taney County to deliver the audit report, Montee stopped by KSMU’s studios to talk with Jennifer Moore about the role of a state auditor, and what she’s been up to lately in the Ozarks.
The audit of Taney County’s Ambulance District took place because a group of citizens gathered enough signatures for a petition. Montee said she believes the petition process allows citizens to keep an eye on their locally elected officials.
“We always refer to ourselves as the watchdog agency,” Montee said. “We do so many more things than, I think, people realize, but really our primary objective is just watching out for taxpayers out there,” she said.
She says when Missourians elect their local officials, they have a level of expectations, and sometimes those expectations are not met. That’s where her office comes in: they provide an independent review, she said. When the state auditor is petitioned to audit a city or local governmental agency, the state requests documents and conducts a series of interviews to gather its information.
When it comes to oversight of the Auditor’s office, Montee says other states do peer reviews of her department, and also that the Missouri state legislature hires an outside firm to audit her office.
The Taney County Ambulance District, she said, began making improvements before the audit was completed. Montee says her office always views this as a good sign.
“When we walk through the door, and positive changes have taken place, we already feel good about being there. And it’s already somewhat worthwhile for the citizens to have brought us in, because already things are working better. And this is going to be one of those examples,” Montee said.
You can see the state auditor’s official report on the Taney County Ambulance District by clicking here.
For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.