Bureau of Audits

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California Bureau of State Audits

California Bureau of State Audits

The Bureau of State Audits investigates the financial stewardship and effectiveness of state government agencies. That includes financial accounting, such as an annual financial examination required under the state Budget Act. Other reviews, such as the federally-mandated Single Audit, evaluate state entities’ administration of federal grants, both through traditional accountancy and by appraising how well the state is meeting the goals of federally subsidized programs. Finally, performance audits examine whether state agencies and programs are accomplishing what they were created to do, whether they are obeying the law, and whether state resources are being used properly.

Sometimes performance audits are broad in scope, as in the questioning of California’s High Speed Rail program. Sometimes, they’re very specific, as in a critique on the Department of Corrections’ $600,000 delay in reassigning an “incompetent” psychiatrist.

The current Bureau of State Audits has been in place since 1993, but its roots reach back to 1955. In that year, state lawmakers established the Office of the Auditor General, with authority to conduct independent financial audits at the state and local level. The auditor general was recommended by a joint legislative committee and confirmed for an indefinite term by the state Assembly and Senate.

In 1969, legislators informally agreed to broaden the scope of the auditor’s investigative power, authorizing manage­ment and performance investigations. A 1972 law formalized that policy, assigning the auditor general to examine and report annually upon the financial statements prepared by the state government’s executive branch and to perform any other related assignments, including performance audits, requested by the legislature.

The agency, most of whose investigators had degrees in accounting or business administra­tion, drew praise for fair and painstaking work. Its audits – exposing government waste, track­ing expenditures and evaluating the performance of executives – were credited with saving taxpayers $6 for every $1 spent on audits.

But in November 1990, former Los Angeles County Supervisor Pete Schabarum proposed and California voters passed Proposition 140, which limited legislative terms and imposed a 38% cut in the Legislature’s budget. In response, legislators made deep cuts in their office and committee staffs and eliminated funding for their independent advisers, including the auditor general.

Starting in July 1991, when the cuts took effect, the Office of the Auditor General survived by selling its services to other government agencies that were required by the federal Single Audit Act and state law to be audited. Without such audits, these agencies would have lost $16 billion in federal grants annually.

In 1992, the Legislature placed Proposition 159 on the ballot, asking voters to establish the auditor general as a state constitutional office and to exempt it from the legislative spending limitations.

In a May 2011 interview, former Acting Auditor General Kurt Sjoberg recalled that he and his staff worked hard to get Proposition 159 passed. He remembered holding a backyard barbecue at his home to raise campaign funds, and he traveled throughout the state in his motor home, appealing to newspaper editorial boards to support the measure.

But Schabarum opposed Proposition 159, arguing that lawmakers should find funding for the watchdog agency by firing political appointees and cutting their own perquisites. The measure was defeated on November 3, 1992.

On November 4, the Office of the Auditor General closed its doors.

Six months later, legislators overwhelmingly approved a new agency, the Bureau of State Audits, under the Milton Marks “Little Hoover” Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy. Like its predecessor, the bureau was charged with conducting audits of state and local government. The legislation also added a duty to administer reports under the state’s Improper Governmental Activities Act. According to the new organization, the state auditor was to be appointed by the governor for a four-year term from a list of three candidates nominated by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. Gov. Pete Wilson signed the legislation establishing the bureau of state audits on May 10, 1993, and Sjoberg – who had been serving as acting director of the old Office of the Auditor General for more than four years – was appointed the first state auditor. The Bureau of State audits has continued in the same form since that time.

Section 8543 of the California Government Code requires that the office be sufficiently independent to meet government auditing standards and those promulgated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The law provides that the office be free of influence of existing state control agencies that could be the subject of our audits.

The Bureau of State Audits is charged with financial audits, which seek to determine whether a state entity’s books balance, and performance audits, which evaluate whether the entity is performing its assigned role under the law. The bureau also investigates allegations of wrongdoing by public employees and organizations.

California State Auditor

The State Auditor promotes the efficient and effective management of public funds and programs by providing to citizens and the State independent, objective, accurate, and timely evaluations of state and local governments’ activities.

As the California’s independent external auditor, we provide nonpartisan, accurate, and timely assessments of California government’s financial and operational activities in compliance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

In other words, the purpose of the California State Auditor’s Office is to improve California government by assuring the performance, accountability, and transparency that its citizens deserve.

Reports of the California State Auditor by Agency:

Academy of Art University
Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
Adelanto, City of
Administrative Office of the Courts
Aging, Department of
Air Resources Board, State
Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority
Alameda County Probation Department
Alameda County Registrar of Voters
Alcohol and Drug Programs, Department of
Alcoholic Beverage Control, Department of
Amador County
American River College
Anaheim Union High School District
Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company
Architects Board
Athletic Commission, State
Attorney General, Office of
Auditor, California State
Bakersfield City School District
Bakersfield, California State University
Bar of California, State
Bay Area Air Quality Management District
Bay Area Headquarters Authority
Bay Area Toll Authority
Border Patrol, U.S.
Business and Economic Development, Governor’s Office
Business, Transportation and Housing Agency
Butte County Department of Employment and Social Services
Butte County Office of Education
Butte, County of
Cajon Valley Union School District
California Exposition and State Fair
California Water Service Company
California, State of
Canyon Springs Community Facility
Cemetery Board
Centinela, California State Prison
Central Basin Municipal Water District
Central California Women’s Facility
Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, Redding Office
Channel Islands, California State University
Chico, California State University
Child Protective Services
Child Support Enforcement Program
Children and Families Commission, California
Chiropractic Examiners, Board of
Coalinga State Hospital
Coastal Conservancy, State
Community Colleges
Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office
Community Services and Development, Department of
Compensation Insurance Fund, State
Conservation Corps, California
Conservation, Department of
Consumer Affairs, Department of
Contra Costa County
Contractors State License Board
Controller’s Office, State
Corporations, Department of
Correctional Health Care Services, California
Correctional Institution, California
Corrections and Rehabilitation, Department of
County Government
Court of Appeal, Fifth District
Court of Appeal, First District
Court of Appeal, Fourth District
Court of Appeal, Second District
Court of Appeal, Sixth District
Court of Appeal, Third District
Covered California
Criminal Justice Planning, Office of
Cuesta College
Delano Joint Union High School District
Developmental Services, Department of
Downey Department of Public Works
Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act
Earthquake Authority, California
Education, Department of
Education, State Board of
El Camino Hospital Los Gatos
Elk Grove Unified School District
Emergency Management Agency
Emergency Medical Services Authority
Emergency Services, Office of
Employment Development Department
Energy Commission, California
Environmental Protection Agency
Equalization, Board of
Escondido Human Resources Department
Fair Employment and Housing, Department of
Fair Political Practices Commission
Fairview Developmental Center
Finance, Department of
Financial Information System for California (FI$CAL)
Fish and Wildlife, Department of
Folsom Women’s Facility
Food and Agriculture, Department of
Forensic Laboratories
Forestry and Fire Protection, Department of
Franchise Tax Board
Fremont, City of
Fresno City College
Fresno County Office of Education
Fresno County Registrar of Voters
Fresno Unified School District
Gambling Control Commission, California
General Services, Department of
Golden State Water Company
Grant Joint Union High School District
Habeas Corpus Resource Center
Health Care Services, Department of
Health Facilities Financing Authority, California
Health Planning and Development, Office of Statewide
Health Services, Department of
Health and Human Services Agency
Health and Welfare Agency
Hesperia Water District
High-Speed Rail Authority, California
Highway Patrol, California
Homeland Security, Office of
Housing Finance Agency
Housing and Community Development, Department of
Human Resources, California Department of
Humboldt, County of
Independent System Operator, California
Indio, City of
Industrial Relations, Department of
Information Technology, Department of
Inspector General, Office of
Insurance, Department of
Integrated Waste Management Board, California
Judicial Council of California
Justice, Department of
Kern County
Kings County Registrar of Voters
Labor and Workforce Development Agency
Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board
Lake County
Lands Commission, State
Laney College
Lanterman Developmental Center
Long Beach Unified School District
Long Beach, California State University
Los Angeles City
Los Angeles County
Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors
Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services
Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health
Los Angeles County Department of Public Works
Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning
Los Angeles County Office of Education
Los Angeles County Probation Department
Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters
Los Angeles County Waterworks, District 40
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Los Angeles Emergency Medical Services Agency
Los Angeles Unified School District
Los Banos Unified School District
Lottery Commission, California State
Madera Unified School District
Magnolia Educational and Research Foundation
Magnolia Science Academies
Managed Health Care, Department of
Mandates, Commission on State
Medical Board of California
Medical Facility, California
Mendota Unified School District
Mental Health Planning Council, California
Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission
Mental Health, Department of
Merced City School District
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Military Department, California
Mission Hospital Laguna Beach
Monterey County Office of Education
Motor Vehicles, Department of
Municipal Finance Authority, California
Napa Valley Unified School District
National Guard, California
Natural Resources Agency, California
North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
North Monterey County Unified School District
Northridge, California State University
Oakland Police Department
Oakland Unified School District
Oakland, Port of
Orange County
Orange County Registrar of Voters
Orange County Social Services Agency
Oroville Union High School District
Pacific Medical Center St. Luke’s Hospital, California
Pajaro Valley Unified School District
Palmdale Water District
Paramount Unified School District
Parks and Recreation, Department of
Parole Hearings, Board of
Perkins Vocational Education Program
Personnel Administration, Department of
Personnel Board, State
Physical Therapy Board
Pilot Commissioners for the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun, Board of
Pleasant Valley State Prison
Pollution Control Financing Authority, California
Pomona, California State Polytechnic University
Porterville Developmental Center
Postsecondary Education Commission, California
Prison Industry Authority
Private Postsecondary Education, Bureau for
Public Employees’ Retirement System, California
Public Health, Department of
Public Utilities Commission
Quartz Hill Water District
Ratepayer Advocates, Office of
Ravenswood Unified School District
Real Estate Appraisers, Office of
Regenerative Medicine, California Institute for
Registered Nursing, Board of
Rehabilitation, Department of
Resources Agency
Resources Recycling and Recovery, Department of
Richmond, City of
Riverside, County of
Ross Valley Sanitary District
Sacramento City Unified School District
Sacramento County
Sacramento County District Attorney
Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department
Sacramento Department of Health and Human Services, County of
Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District
Sacramento, California State University
Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System
Salton Sea Authority
San Bernardino City Unified School District
San Bernardino Community College District
San Bernardino County
San Bernardino Department of Behavioral Health Administration, County of
San Diego Community College District
San Diego County Registrar of Voters
San Diego Development Services Department, City of
San Diego Ethics Commission, City of
San Diego International Airport at Lindbergh Field
San Diego Mayor’s Office, City of
San Diego Police Department
San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board
San Diego State University
San Diego State University Research Foundation
San Diego Unified Port District
San Diego Unified School District
San Diego, County of
San Dieguito Union High School District
San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District
San Francisco Human Services Agency, City and County of
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
San Francisco State University
San Francisco Unified School District
San Francisco, City College of
San Joaquin County Office of Education
San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Management District
San Joaquin, County of
San Jose, California State University
San Jose, City of
San Leandro Hospital
San Marcos, California State University
San Mateo, County of
San Quentin, California State Prison
Santa Barbara, County of
Santa Clara County
Santa Clara County Mental Health Department
Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
School for the Deaf, Riverside, California
Science Center, California
Secretary of State, Office of the
Shasta College
Shasta County
Sierra Conservation Center
Social Services, Department of
Solano Community College
Solano County Registrar of Voters
Sonoma Developmental Center
Sonoma State University
South Coast Air Quality Management District
Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission
Spill Prevention and Response, Office of
Standardized Tests
Stanford University
State Hospitals, Department of
State and Community Corrections, Board of
State and Consumer Services Agency
Statewide Communities Development Authority, California
Stockton Unified School District
Student Aid Commission
Substance Abuse Treatment Facility, California
Superior Court of California, County of Alameda
Superior Court of California, County of Butte
Superior Court of California, County of Fresno
Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles
Superior Court of California, County of Marin
Superior Court of California, County of Napa
Superior Court of California, County of Orange
Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento
Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino
Superior Court of California, County of San Diego
Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco
Superior Court of California, County of San Luis Obispo
Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara
Superior Court of California, County of Stanislaus
Superior Court of California, County of Sutter
Superior Court of California, County of Yolo
Superior Court of California, County of Yuba
Superior Courts
Supreme Court of California
Sutter County
Sweetwater Union High School District
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
Teacher Credentialing, California Commission on
Teachers’ Retirement System, State
Teale Data Center
Technology, California Department of
Toxic Substances Control, Department of
Trade and Commerce Agency
Traffic Safety, Office of
Transportation Agency, California State
Transportation Commission, California
Transportation, Department of
Treasurer, State
Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, California
University of California
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, San Diego
University of California, San Francisco
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Redlands
University of Southern California
University of the Pacific
University, California State
Valley State Prison for Women
Vernon, City of
Veterans Affairs, Department of
Veterans Board, California
Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, California
Victorville Water District
Wasco State Prison
Water Replenishment District of Southern California
Water Resources Control Board
Water Resources, Department of
Workforce Investment Board, California
Yolo, County of
Youth Authority, Department of the

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