State Auditor Dave Yost has completed his audit of the state’s non profit job creation company, JobsOhio. The report comes after a long fight with state leaders and the legislature. It doesn’t contain any big problems but it doesn’t say everything has been handled correctly either.
“This has been a difficult audit. And you know, there was some arm wrestling along the way," says Yost.
But the findings of Yost’s audit don’t show the agency might be guilty of wrongdoing. The report looked at JobsOhio during 2012 and did find some problems with the way the organization handled issues.
“What we found is on the control side is consistent with what you might find in a first year start up corporation.”
The audit raises questions about 60 thousand dollars JobsOhio spent for which there are no receipts. The report also finds some JobsOhio directors failed to sign ethical conduct pledges. But it also finds that there were no problems that were discovered as a result of not having those pledges in place.
“The fact of the matter remains that had there been one, the then existing processes could not have been counted on to detect it or resolve it," says Yost.
For its part, JobsOhio Board Chairman Jim Boland says he’s pleased overall that the report was positive and largely identified minor discrepancies that are not uncommon to other companies during their first year in business. Yost says his office “haphazardly selected” 28 project files to review. That’s a point that Yost’s opponent next fall, Democratic State Representative Jon Patrick Carney, seized upon when he was asked his take on Yost’s audit.
“You know to publish something in which you indicate that you took a haphazard to reviewing any potential conflicts says to me exactly what he did," says Carney. " He took a haphazard approach to doing his job. And that is disappointing considering that taxpayers are paying his salary along with every person that is employed at the auditor’s office. It is not acceptable to take a haphazard approach to doing your job.”
Carney says Yost could have had access to more complete documents to review if he would have acted immediately instead of waiting for the new law restricting Yost’s control over the auditing of JobsOhio to go into effect.
“He has essentially sat on his hands while he did have access to documents and information.”
Carney says Yost gave into the Governor and legislature with this audit by not delving deeper into the specifics of the agency. Yost says that’s not true. And while he says he’s never going to be able to do an audit like this one in the future because of the new law, Yost notes he will have a part in helping to deal with private audits prescribed by law in the future. Will he be able to demand enough transparency to know whether he’ll be able to detect possible future problems.
This report is a pretty detailed look under the hood, what was happening in 2012," says Yost. "Going forward, there is a process in place. It’s kind of asking a mechanic what’s wrong with my car before the mechanic looks at the car. I’ll have to get back with you on that."
Yost also explains the word haphazardly was used in the report to mean something different than what Carney implies.
“What we mean colloquially about that is random. Now random has a specific statistical meaning so the accountants used the word “haphazard” but what they mean is they picked some stuff to look at without any particular rhyme or reason."
Yost says he will be taking the most active role as allowed in the new law when it comes to monitoring JobsOhio’s audit process in the future.
“I don’t have the directive hand here. I just have one seat at the table, probably over in the corner”