SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – As the criminal case proceeds against officials from the Southern California city of Bell, the state controller is calling for new safeguards to prevent local corruption.
State Controller John Chiang said his office needs more power to oversee local governments and agencies, to make sure others aren’t overpaying themselves or misappropriating money, as eight officials in Bell are accused of doing.
KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:
“It will enhance the state’s ability, with additional tools, to attack the fundamental deficiencies and failings of some of the principal participants, such as what occurred in the Bell situation,” said Chiang.
Chiang is sponsoring a package of bills, introduced by five different lawmakers. The measures would let him audit how local agencies use their own local money, not just state and federal funds.
It would also let him audit the local auditors.
“When we looked at the quality of Bell’s independent auditors, we saw and found just a little more than a rubber stamp,” Chiang said.
Other measures include mandating uniform accounting and reporting rules and increased penalties for not filing financial reports. Chiang still wouldn’t be able to investigate though, without an allegation of wrongdoing.
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