Ohio2006 Blog

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Thursday, September 14

Auditor: Sykes (D) Introduces Legislation to Restore Check-Signing Authority to Auditor

Auditor candidate State Rep. Barbara Sykes (D-Akron) has introduced House Bill 655, legislation to restore check-signing authority to the state auditor’s office. Specifically, the bill would repeal a provision included in this year’s budget corrections bill that transfers the state auditor’s authority to sign state-issued checks to the Director of Budget and Management, an official who reports directly to the governor.

“The signing of a state check is, in effect, a guarantee to the people of that their money is not being spent recklessly or fraudulently,” said Sykes. “Allowing an appointee from the governor to sign off on checks requested by that same office strips away a long-standing and essential check and balance of our state government.”

Currently, the state auditor writes more than 10 million checks each year for the state payroll, Medicaid payments and payments to the suppliers of state goods. Statutory language describes the signing of checks as providing a warrant, a formal assurance or authorization of the state that the treasurer of state is required to pay.

“If we have learned anything from the headlines of scandal and corruptions swirling around Columbus, it is that state government left unchecked leads to misuse of taxpayers’ dollars,” said Sykes. “The last thing we should be doing is taking the most basic auditing function, check writing, out of the checks-and-balances function of Ohio’s government.”

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