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Mon Dec 17, 2018, 02:25 PM

Oregon agencies may find more watchdogs keeping an eye on them

SALEM -- A dozen large state agencies could find themselves with watchdogs tethered within their ranks, guarding against wasteful spending and questionable government practices.

They’ve been without internal auditors for more than a decade ago, ignoring a mandate that they have such positions. That lack of oversight was highlighted in a recent state audit, and Gov. Kate Brown is budgeting for 14 new internal auditors.

Internal auditors can find tens of thousands in improper or unnecessary spending, fraud or inefficient practices. They can also determine when an agency is operating smoothly, using resources effectively and staying up to date on best practices.

In 2005, the state made that function a matter of law and tasked the state Department of Administrative Services with setting up rules and standards for which agency should have an auditor and what auditors should do.

Read more: https://www.salemreporter.com/posts/272/oregon-agencies-may-find-more-watchdogs-keeping-an-eye-on-them

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Reply Oregon agencies may find more watchdogs keeping an eye on them (Original post)
TexasTowelie Dec 2018 OP
zipplewrath Dec 2018 #1

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2018, 02:53 PM

1. Watching the watchers

I hope they get good ones. We occasionally go through fits of "cost cutting" by trying to "eliminate waste". In their zeal, they often find "waste" that was relatively insignificant, when compared to the cost of finding it, and/or preventing it. In one case back in the day when long distance phone calls cost money, they made a big announcement on how a particular auditor had eliminated $25,000 of "improper or unnecessary" calls. Great, but the auditor made an unburdened salary of $43,000 at the time. She was going to have to find alot more waste to justify her salary, not to mention her staff.

I just had a long discussion with a travel auditor on why I paid $75 change fee on an airline ticket to come home 3 hours earlier. The simple answer was because it avoided the cost of 3 hours of overtime. My burdened cost would have been about 5 times as much. There's a difference between "waste" and "cost avoidance". The latter often costs money, and can appear "wasteful" without a complete understanding.

If your system for avoiding "waste" of copier paper ends up making me take 20 minutes to refill the copier, you just lost money.

"Waste prevention" efforts should always have "minimum" thresholds for what will be deemed significant. Any quantification of significant waste is likely to be much larger than one might guess.

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