Welcome Beth Wood, Candidate for State Auditor

Please Welcome Beth Wood, candidate for the State Auditor's position. From Beth's website:

I am a long-time public servant with 15 years of auditing experience. If elected, I will return the State Auditor’s Office to its former high standards and not engage in any private consulting work or activity that will diminish my focus on my only priority, which will be monitoring the state’s use of $20 billion in state funds and federal tax payer dollars.

Feel free to leave questions here, and please join us on Wednesday at 7!

Comments

When I first heard Ms. Wood speak at the SEC

in Hamlett I was very impressed!

Ms. Wood, could you please explain who/what the auditor's office is in charge of auditing, what would trigger an audit and how is the entity audited?

Also, once you are elected will you be able to audit your predecessor's records/daily activity to see if he was in violation of laws while he was in this office?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Beth Wood

I have had the chance to get to know Beth over the last few months and she will be fantastic as our new state auditor.
She would do a good job at any post she would serve. This state will be lucky to have someone like her in a position of resposiblity.

What the auditor does

Mommoaizo,
Thanks so much for your question.

The State Auditor is in charge of auditing the following:
State Agencies
Universities and UNC Hospital
Community Colleges (rotatiion basis, once every 3 years unless we found problems when they were audited)
Clerks of Court (rotation, once every 3 years unless we found problems)
82 not-for-profits (annually)
12 Component Units of NC like the Ports Authority in Wilmington, the Battleship in Wilmington, Global Transpark in Kinston etc.

FYI we perform different types of audits:
Financial Statement Audits
Audits of federal grant moneys
Fiscal Control Audits
Performance Audits
And when there is a complaint of fraud, abuse or waste we perform Investigations.

I tell you that to answer your next question. The financial statement audits are done as State/Federal mandates.

The Performance audits are done based on requests from the General Assembly, or at the request of an agency head or based on the State Auditor and their staff's assessment of where these need to be performed.

Information Technology audits are based on the discretion of the State Auditor; however, the IT staff are used as a part of the financial audits.

The fraud investigations are performed as allegations come in from the public.

The State Auditor's Office audits in compliance with Auditing Standards handed down by a federal agency as well as by the American Institute of CPAs.

As to your last question, I can look at everything the predecessor auditor has done while he was in office. I know well the staff who has worked for him below the senior management level. I am comfortable I will not find anything there. We will see about the other.

Information Technology Audits

thank you Ms. Wood

it was wonderful to meet you (twice!) I am your supporter 100%...by the way, call me Mo

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Should be great

I met Beth at Marshall's fundraiser in Raleigh. She was smart, articulate and clearly dedicated to doing the people's work. I look forward to this session!

I know Beth Wood. She lives in my District.

Beth is the Real Deal. She is honest, trustworthy and understands the privledge of being a servant.

Beth deserves our admiration and support. Beth will change the sails in the State Auditors office and go in the direction of honesty, prudence and accountability.

Marshall Adame
2014 U.S. Congress Candidate NC-03

She gets around!

Ms. Wood, it was a pleasure to meet you in Fayetteville at the Democratic Women's meeting.

You spoke about the mission of performance auditing. As a public administration enthusiast, I know how important it is in the policy process to evaluate the actions of executive agencies (this allows them to either modify their regulations or gives notice to the NCGA that they may need to change the underlying statutes). Do you feel that enough has been done in the past few years regarding performance auditing and how do you think future performance auditing will improve the quality, effectiveness, and cost of our state government?

Wherever

two or three are gathered ...

;)

Ms. Wood, I've wondered in the past if the state auditor's office is the proper vehicle for auditing and instigating some change/"leaning" of DOT. With our current auditor I can't say I'd like the idea -- political goals would muddy the water too much. But with a true public servant such as yourself overseeing the office of State Auditor I think it might not be such a bad idea. The one word I've heard used to describe DOT by folks who deal with the agency professionally is "silos." I have no desire to see government run like a business but sometimes a little modernization within certain institutions is a good thing. Do you have any thoughts or comments on that? Has an audit of DOT been done in recent years? If so, what were the results? Is there a reason I'm not aware of that an audit of this agency is not a good idea?

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

No I don't think enough has

No I don't think enough has been done in the way of Performance Audits.

They are a most important tool for measuring how effective an agency or division or process of an agency really are. It is a valuable tool for helping agencies and their staff understanding where they might be inefficient or where they may be wasteful.

With Performanc audits we can provide agencies with information as to how they are performing based on established benchmarks. Show them how they can improve.

I see them playing an important role in the future to make agencies more streamlined in providing services. I can see that Division of the Auditor's office doubling in size.

I think you can expect action and updating

Beth, evening Hugh Wilde, good to see you on here.I wish everyone here could have had the chance to get to know you that I have the last few months.
Folks, this lady is the real thing, the best I have seen since Elaine Marshall became Sec. of State
This is a woman of substance, and we as a party are lucky to have her not only running but represnting us as democrats.

I am going to get out of the way, but Beth is the real thing, and she will come to your town and talk to your local party, all you have to do is ask her.

Would the auditor ...

conceivably have any role in determining whether the Department of Revenue is doing its job in enforcing tax payment from companies in North Carolina?

Beth, welcome and thank you for joining us.

You have experience in the auditor's office. What did you do and how did it prepare you to serve as auditor?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Plus a follow up

Sometimes experience helps a person understand what doesn't work, as well as what does. Can you tell us where you think the current Auditor has fallen short?

James, You hit the nail

James,
You hit the nail right on the head.....experience. In my heart there are 2 things that have been a real shortfall for the current auditor and both of them tie back to experience.

While he has lots of experience in Financial Planning and (is great at it so I hear) that experience did not prepare him to effectively run the Office of the State Auditor. I do not speak this with any malice, it is just facts based on having worked with him for 3 years.

The other area that has been an issue is the staff he brought to the Office with him. He let go a deputy who was a CPA with 27 years of government accounting and auditing experience AND 27 years experience in the Auditor's Office to replace him with someone who was not a CPA and had no government and accounting experience.

Experience is good, RELEVANT experience is invaluable!!

Dang

That's the kind of thing a management team should be fired for. Then again, I guess that's what you're hoping to do.

I'm with you.

Just keep telling this single story again and again and again. It shows that the Auditor has had bad judgment from the get-go.

Bushesque. Sounds like a commercial to me.

Hmmmm......

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Betty, I was the Director of

Betty,

I was the Director of Training, I trained audit staff in every Division of the Office. (You never know a topic any better than when you have to teach it.)

I implemented a training program that better suited the job setting of our staff, it incorporated more of a hands-on training method vs just lecture.

I was responsible for training newly promoted supervisors how to evaluate and problem solve with their staff.

I initiated a new staff performance evaluation program that was more in line with the true performance of our staff and help those who were having trouble.

I spoke before the appropriations committe during budget setting time.

This experience not only prepares me technically to lead this office but gives me an insight into the strengths and weaknesses in the Auditor's Office as well as our own State goverment.

There she is! Welcome Beth!

Beth will be with us until about 8 pm, so if you've got a question for her about her campaign or the office of state auditor, please post it here.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Beth, as a non-profit manager who receives state funds,

I've dealt with both state auditors and private auditors contracted by the state to look at our agency's finances. What kind of training do those individuals have?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

The State Auditors as well

The State Auditors as well as the contract auditors are required to have 80 hours of formal continuing education over a 2-year period. Now that requirement is meant for the training to be relevant to whatever it is the auditors do, i.e., if they are auditing non profits then they should be getting training on either auditing courses or non-profit accounting.

In the Auditor's Office we made sure the training was relevant to what the auditor did. I can't speak to the contract auditors.

Two Questions

1. Sometimes I feel like the Auditor is someone who's job is all about hindsight and not so much about foresight. What would you do increase the foresight of state agencies in spending? Or rather, how would you aid state government/agencies in learning from the mistakes of others?

2. What can be done in the Auditor's office (in conjunction, perhaps, with the State Treasurer's office) to create more transparency in state spending?

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

You are right in that it

You are right in that it does look like our job is about hindsight. Actually, our audits do provide proactive information; however, it seems that no one sees that. The Auditor's Office is required to report errors, omissions, fraud, etc. that may have occurred during the period under audit; however, auditing standards require that the reports also disclose weaknesses that could result, at a later date, in omissions, fraud, errors, waste etc. It just seems that everyone concentrates on whether or not anything occurred in the period under audit and are not looking at those weaknesses that need to be addressed to prevent future problems.

I want to work more closely with the General Assembly to point out these weaknesses that need to be addressed and the consequences of not addressing them so they might hold state agencies accountable for fixing any problems we might find.

The findings in an audit report are no good if the General Assembly does not hold State agencies accountable for the findings. So I want to be more proactive in seeing that this information gets to those who can do something about it.

What a marvelous idea

Thinking ahead and using information to make better decisions. New leadership is definitely in order.

I've always thought that the material weaknesses were the most

important part of an audit report. That way you can see what you're dealing with going forward. The past is past and can't be fixed. But you can fix weaknesses, or make adjustments to allow for them so that things can be handled in a more efficient, optimal way.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

We've reached the top of the hour!

Thank you, Beth for your very well thought-out and careful answers. If you'd like to stick around and continue to answer questions, that would be great. Or if you'd like to stop back another time and check in with us, that would be wonderful, too.

Great thanks for your time and attention this evening. Good Luck on May 6.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Thanks, Beth

You're a brave soul for venturing out into the blogosphere on this Wednesday evening. Thank you for joining us ... and for you willingness to run for this important position.

How can we ensure in the future . .

How can we ensure in the future that the Auditor's office isn't used for partisan pranks?

Mr. Leslie Merritt has done a fine job of using his office for personal and partisan gain, and I don't think that old dog is going to learn new tricks. How do we prevent future Auditors from following him down that same disturbing path?

He has set a bad precedent for future generations.

- - - - -
McCain - The Third Bush Term

That's a hard one to answer

That's a hard one to answer because you know, it comes down to personal integrity. The Auditor's office should be nonpartisan and should not be pushing any political agendas. Because it is an elected position the only way to end this is to put someone else in to the office......which is what we are getting ready to do.