Proposed constitutional amendment would abolish state auditor’s office

Proposed constitutional amendment would abolish state auditor’s office

By Mary Sell, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A proposal in the Alabama State House would do away with the Alabama Auditor’s Office and transfer its duties to the Alabama Examiners of Public Accounts Department.

The auditor’s position is created in the state’s constitution, so abolishing it would have to be approved by Alabama voters through a constitutional amendment. 

With voter approval, Senate Bill 83 from Sen. Andrew Jones, R-Gadsden, would shutter the office when current auditor Jim Zeigler’s current term ends in 2022.

“As Republicans, we’re all about downsizing government and being more efficient with taxpayer resources,” Jones told Alabama Daily News. “It’s a very simple bill that I think could save some taxpayer dollars and we could use those to fund some other things that are important, like mental health and prisons.”

Zeigler hadn’t seen the bill Tuesday evening, he said.

“Usually, if you’re going to file a bill to abolish someone’s office, you send them a copy of it and talk to them about it,” he said. “That hasn’t happened.”

He’s against combining the office’s work with another department.

The auditor’s office reports to the governor receipts and disbursement of revenues collected and paid into the treasury. It’s also responsible for the accounting of state property costing $500 or more.

The examiner’s office can audit the books, accounts, and records of all state and county offices, officers, bureaus, boards, commissions, corporations, departments, and agencies and to report on expenditures, contracts, or other audit findings found to be in violation of law.

The auditor’s office was appropriated $928,000 out of the General Fund this fiscal year. In 2017, there were a total of nine people in the office, according to State Personnel Department information.

Jones’ bill is on the Tuesday agenda of the Government Affairs Committee.

Rep. Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle, will carry the bill in the House, Jones said.