California State Auditor Elaine Howle honored as public servant of the year

Credit: Sacbee.com

Every year since 1994, Governance magazine has honored eight to ten local or state government officials for their outstanding work. California State Auditor Elaine Howle will be honored Nov. 5 as Public Servant of the Year.

Elaine Howle, after working for nearly 30 years in the Office of the State Auditor, was the first female appointed California State Auditor in 2000. She has held this position for the past twelve years, through three governors and six legislative sessions.

The California State Auditor’s Office is a nonpartisan agency whose mission is “to promote the efficient and effective management of public funds and programs by providing citizens and government with independent, objective, accurate, and timely assessments of state and local governments. “

Howle’s office is responsible for a large number of tasks. Not only do they perform the annual financial audit of California’s complex financial statements, but they also ensure that California is in compliance with federal regulations relating to the billions of federal dollars the state receives each year. Ms. Howle oversees investigations into potential fraud and abuse within the state government. His office has the power to identify state agencies that face major efficiency or effectiveness challenges, audit them, and report them.

Ms. Howle has been entrusted with responsibilities that go beyond the usual prerogatives of an auditor. Proposition 11, passed in 2008, created the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, a state agency made up of citizens who draw the boundaries of the state’s legislative districts. Ms. Howle and her office were tasked with selecting the citizens who would serve on the commission. Being chosen for this task was an acknowledgment of the respect her work has had over the years as well as the truly non-partisan nature of her office.

The Public Official of the Year Award is the last, but not least, recognition of Elaine Howle’s work this year. For the first time in California, three cities declared bankruptcy. As a result, Auditor Howle found herself tasked with overseeing local government finances – an unusual assignment for a state auditor. The fact that in these difficult financial times, the state legislature increased the budget of the California State Auditor is another example of its confidence in Ms. Howle’s work. Its budget was increased by 47%, totaling $8 million. These funds allow him to hire 50 additional auditors and increase his office’s investigative resources, particularly in high-risk areas.

When Elaine Howle receives this award in November, California can be proud to have such a dedicated public servant and hope that Ms. Howle and her office will do all they can to solve the state’s financial problems.

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