Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released a closeout audit of the Missouri Governor's Office, which she issued with an overall performance rating of fair. The audit covers finances and procedures for the Nixon administration, up to the transition of the new official into office.
The audit includes recommendations to evaluate the process used for boards and commissions appointments and review. There are currently about 220 boards with 1,600 governor-appointed positions. Of those, approximately 1,130 positions (70%) were waiting to be filled by the governor, either due to a vacancy or because of an expired term. In some cases, boards continue to exist after years of inactivity due to a perceived lack of interest or need.
"The state's boards and commissions can fill important needs in our state, but only when they have the members and resources to fulfill their responsibilities," Auditor Galloway said. "If the board's mission is completed or becomes obsolete, the board should cease to exist instead of slowly deteriorating into bureaucratic oblivion."
The report also includes multiple repeat issues from prior year audits, including concerns related to the cost of Governor's Office and security detail operations, as well as expenses at the Governor's Mansion. The audit takes issue with the methods used to distribute these expenses among multiple agencies, in effect burying the full cost to taxpayers. Mansion expenses include those associated with the governor's residence, including staff, food and daily living expenses for the Governor and family. For 2015 and 2016 the legislature appropriated $6.1 million dollars for the office, security detail and mansion combined, yet those expenses totaled more than $8.3 million, exceeding allotted amounts by $2.2 million over two years.
The audit also identified concerns with the use of state resources for political and personal purposes and employee travel expenses.
The State Auditor conducts closeout audits of statewide offices to assist in transitions and ensure that newly-elected officeholders are aware of areas for improvement.
A complete copy of the report is online here.