Audits in the News: July

Audits in the News: Financial reports, waste hotline are highlighted in the news.

We here in the audits division are proud that the work we do makes a difference. Our work attracts the attention of the legislature, statewide news sources, and even local media outlets. Local media coverage of our audits is just another way we communicate with the people of Oregon about the work that we’re doing on their behalf to make government better. This is part of an ongoing series of posts rounding up recent instances in which the Oregon Audits Division makes a cameo in the local news.

The Oregon Audits Division does more than audits; we also issue county financial condition reports and manage the state’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline. This additional work was featured in some recent news reports.

Read the county financial condition review here, and read the report on our waste hotline here!

Statesman Journal – Polk County at ‘higher risk of distress’ on state financial report

Read the story here.

Polk County remains as one of four Oregon counties ‘at higher risk of distress,’ according to a recent Secretary of State report, but county commissioners said they have already taken steps to improve their fiscal status.

The report, released Tuesday, is the latest in a series of reports by the state every two years since 2012, with the intent of informing state legislators and county commissioners about regional needs. The next report is scheduled to be released in 2018.”

Statesman Journal – Reports of government waste surge in 2015

Read the story here.

“Reports to the state government waste hotline increased 35 percent during 2015, according to an audit released Wednesday by the Secretary of State’s office.

The hotline was created in 1995 for state employees and members of the public to report government waste or fraud. 243 confidential reports were logged in 2015. Work environment problems were the most common reason for reports, followed by reports of fraud, theft or kickbacks.”

KTVZ – Oregon Govt. Waste Hotline complaints jump 35 percent

Read the story here.

The Oregon Audits Division in the Office of the Secretary of State released its annual report on the Government Waste Hotline Wednesday, showing a 35 percent jump in complaints over the previous year.”

Audits in the News Featured New Audit Release

Oregon’s Counties: 2016 Financial Condition Review

Summary


Overall, the financial condition of Oregon counties has improved since 2014, based on increases in per capita income and declines in the unemployment rate. While four counties are still at financial risk of distress, 5 of the 9 counties identified as at-risk in 2014 have seen notable economic improvements. Actions taken by at-risk counties to address their financial conditions are outlined in the report.

We first issued a county financial condition report for the State of Oregon in 2012 with updated reports to be issued every two years. The primary source of data for the report is each county’s audited financial statements for fiscal years 2006 through 2015. Since our report in 2014, many counties have improved their financial condition. For example, every county experienced increases in per capita income and declines in unemployment rates. Nearly all counties indicate a strong liquidity position with a ratio of at least $5 of cash on-hand for each $1 of short-term obligation.

For purposes of our analysis of Oregon’s 36 counties, we selected 10 indicators that provide a general assessment of financial condition. For each indicator we present a detailed discussion. We also looked at the declining federal timber revenue to counties to identify added financial strain.

Although many counties have improved their financial condition since 2012, four counties continue to be identified as counties to monitor; that is, counties whose financial condition may indicate a higher risk of distress. We performed additional analysis on these four counties, which are individually portrayed in the Counties to Monitor section of this report:

Curry
Douglas
Josephine
Polk

Some of the counties have initiated varying strategies to address their situation. We summarized their actions and plans within this report. We do not propose solutions for counties because decisions about county taxes and the level of services are based on local priorities, within practical and legal requirements and limitations.

Early identification of financial problems enables a government to introduce remedies sooner. State monitoring of local governments can provide assurance key partners in service delivery are financially sound, and if warning trends appear, can also prompt action. A key challenge facing several states and their local governments is the right solution when a government is in severe financial distress.

Read more on the financial condition of Oregon counties, this year and in 2012 and 2014.

Oregon’s Counties: 2016 Financial Condition Review

Oregon’s Counties: 2014 Financial Condition Review

Oregon’s Counties: 2012 Financial Condition Review

Featured New Audit Release Noteworthy