Assembly Member Renews Attack on Local Government Associations
February 27, 2020
CSAC opposes AB 2452 (Garcia, Christina), which would authorize the California State Auditor to conduct audits on associations of local agencies and school districts, including CSAC. The bill would do so by expanding the High-Risk Local Government Agency Audit Program, which was implemented in 2015, to allow the State Auditor to audit local governments. AB 2452 would allow for the State Auditor to get involved in the financials of private, non-profit organizations for the first time.
These continued attacks on local government associations, according to the author, come in response to a physical altercation at a conference of southern California city officials. The author has not explained how allowing government audits of private entities’ finances would discourage fistfights. The bill also does not extend the State Auditor’s authority to for-profit organizations that local agencies pay for services.
The High-Risk program gives the State Auditor broad discretion to begin investigations into agencies that their office “identifies as being at high risk for the potential of waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement or that has major challenges associated with its economy, efficiency, or effectiveness.” Before the High-Risk program was expanded to include local agencies, the State Auditor’s role was to audit the state’s programs and finances.
AB 2452 is a follow-up bill to AB 315, which Assembly Member Garcia introduced last year before withdrawing it from consideration last month. AB 315 would have restricted, and in some cases outright prohibited, local government associations from performing many of the services provided on behalf of counties.