John Dougall, Utah Auditor Elect

On Tuesday morning of this week Utah Auditor Elect, John Dougall sent out a letter requesting the resignation from all current Audit staff and asked them to reapply for their jobs.  I could not put my readers at a disadvantage by providing  only snippets of the letter, so I provided it in its entirety below:

“Dear State Auditor Staff,

Thank you for your years of service. You have demonstrated your desire to ensure proper financial and regulatory oversight of state revenues and federal funds. I’d like to express my appreciation for your service.

As many of your know, I have been working with members of my transition team to quickly move through the transition process. I have also dedicated several days to meeting with the many auditors and administrative staff within the Office of the State Auditor.

I hope you will view this transition effort as a necessary examination of the office’s operations. It is a healthy process to reevaluate direction and approach. I have appreciated the opportunity for you to tell me what you’re proud of and where you think we can improve.

As I work to build my team, I will look to balance individuals with fresh, new ideas with others who have the wisdom that comes with experience in the trenches. With a new administration comes change. Some may hope to continue their public service in the Auditor’s office. Others may use their experience to explore new adventures elsewhere, while some have already announced their retirement after decades of dedicated service. These changes are a necessary adjustment of course, placing more emphasis in areas and strategy that I believe are central to my vision.

To address these changes I am requesting that all appointed staff within the State Auditor’s office submit their resignation effective January 6, 2013 and that you reapply for service with the new administration. I am advised that this is a “best practice” for such a transition between administrations.

Please submit your resignation letter to the office¹s HR administrator (Maria Fandl) as well as your indication whether to be considered for reappointment. Your prompt assistance will help accelerate reappointment notifications. It is my intent to announce most staffing decisions no later than 5pm on December 11th in order to allow adequate time for any necessary transitions for you personally. This timeline assumes that I have received all letters by 9am on December 11th.

Again, thank you for your service.

Best regards,

John Dougall
State Auditor-Elect”

In a conversation with Daniel Burton of “Publius Online”   Dougall told him ” that he had spent the past 2 weeks interviewing almost everyone in the office, as well as a group of auditors assisting with an outside assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the offices audit methodologies. Of the appointed staffers, 88% requested consideration for reappointment and 76% of those were immediately offered appointments.”

This action alone is very promising of things to come from the State Auditors offices.

To show another example of Mr Dougall’s tenacity,  he  posted this on his facebook page on Monday:  ” Decided to crash the Weber Co Mosquito Abatement District board meeting and party tonight. Here’s what I noted: (1) public meeting was improperly noticed, (2) agenda did not provide sufficient specificity as required by law, (3) meeting was held at a restaurant with no planned seating for members of the public to attend, (4) minutes from previous board meeting provided insufficient clarity regarding action taken, (5) wondering why there was almost $4K expended in petty cash for a single month (for an entity with only a $1.55M annual budget), and (6) wondered about the necessity and propriety of a fancy holiday dinner for board trustees and guests at taxpayer expense. Got lots of questioning looks and stares as people wondered who I was and why I was there. There was no opportunity for public comment.”

As a citizen of Utah I am beyond pleased that the voters got this one right!  In an era of closed door negotiations, and politicians’ noses rising ever higher up into the wind as they believe they are elevated to some sort of hierarchy status, John Dougall is a refreshing and much needed character in State Politics.  No longer will government entities get away with spending to their hearts content.  We didn’t elect “Frugal Dougall” for nothing!

Mr. Dougall has been in the Utah State Legislature for 10 years prior to his running for State Auditor this year and was counted as one of the most Conservative.  I was able to get to know him personally on several occasions, having great conversations about the lack of oversight of government spending, especially when it came to education and local school districts.

Mr. Dougall  has also been very gracious to me as I would ask him questions at random meetings and would take time to talk with me.  His accessibility,  forwardness, and transparency sets him apart from a lot of the Utah State leadership and that should be scaring a lot of government “entitled” programs and divisions that, for at least the last 10 years,  has gotten away with a lot of over spending.

Utahns are very much looking forward to seeing what Mr. Dougall uncovers in the next couple years.  It should be good!