We need an Inspector General NOT an Internal Auditor (Guest Post, Bruce Danielson)

The Internal Audit department was established after it was discovered we had an out of control administration. The plan for establishing an Internal Audit department came about because laws were broken by city personnel with no process to make sure it could not happen again (The offenders were never charged with a crime because council chickened out, and the main offender got re-elected to a 2nd term). The framers of our government did not see a leader or employee, willing to destroy the government for the chance to make a personal buck no matter what, in the Home Rule plan they put together.

An Internal Audit department was developed to be a place to go, to verify projects were completed on the up and up. If the City Council wanted to check a contract or process, they were able to have it added to the audit schedule for the year. The Internal Audit staff was not to change the mission or the audit plan for the year. What we have learned over time is how the Internal Audit staff either changed the audit plan because the work was “too hard”, complicated or they didn’t want to do it.

What we have found since the Internal Audit office was set up, staff has never functioned as it was proposed. Internal Audit has become a place of semi-retirement with no expectation of getting any meaningful work done. Internal Audit should not be the go along, get along function as it has been for many years. The Internal Auditor staff or its function should not be feared. If the office or function being audited is on the up and up, an audit should be welcomed. If the department has no issues, they should be recognized for running a tight ship.

The Internal Auditor should never be transferred from a Sioux Falls city department staff. An Internal Auditor staff member should never be put into the position of auditing their prior office, co-workers, family or friends. To think anyone in the Internal Auditor office would be hired out of the finance or public works or city attorney office or any other office now or in the future is just plain wrongheaded and presents a huge conflict of interest.

The Internal Auditor office in Sioux Falls must be a true auditor office. It should not be led by a CPA with bookkeeper bees for staff. The Internal Auditor office could be led by an engineer with a bookkeeper and an investigator. It could be a mix of any number of people from many different types of backgrounds. Curiosity and the ability to think outside the box are probably more important than their ability to build a spreadsheet.

I firmly believe we need an Inspector General office more than a happy clappy Internal Auditor cheering on questionably legal city government actions many of us have seen over the years. The citizens need to have an office they can approach with questionably illegal issues and not have them buried in a bureaucracy, never to see the light of day.

Internal Audit should not be the resting spot of guilty consciences, it should be the blunt force that would come down on a wrong process or person because curiosity ruled the day and found a hidden issue. Finding problems and fixing them is a good thing, it shouldn’t be perceived as a ‘bad cop’. As citizens WE own the government, it’s our money. Anything we can do to save taxpayers money by fixing or streamlining processes should be the ultimate goal. If someone’s feelings are hurt in that process, maybe they need to find another job in the private sector.



3 comments ↓

#1 D@ily Spin on 04.15.19 at 12:18 pm

It’s become well known city hall is more criminally corrupt than a Mexican drug cartel. It’s obvious when mayors leave office multimillionaires. When there’s court cases, they ignore decisions. When there’s audits, results are covered up. What’s necessary is a SD Supreme Court supervised audit and a new charter. The state court has the authority to supervise change and prosecute offenders (civic and private). There’s historic abuse of Strong Mayor Charter and obscene public funds misappropriations.

#2 come on on 04.15.19 at 8:01 pm

Wasn’t Huether pretty well off BEFORE he became mayor? And TenHaken too?

#3 l3wis on 04.15.19 at 8:37 pm

Uh, yes and no. Bowlcut invested in tons of development while he was mayor. He was slick about it using his wife, but there are a handful of public records tracing it back to him. So yes, he had money rolling into the office, but I can guarantee 8 years later, he had a lot more.

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