JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The latest audit released by the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has some strong criticism for former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.
The closeout audit, which evaluates the overall performance of the Governor’s Office, looks into the finances and procedures of the outgoing governor, and the audit shows hundreds of vacant positions among Missouri’s boards and commissions, laying the blame on the former Democratic governor who appointed State Auditor Nicole Galloway to her current position.
According to the release, of the 220 boards and 1,600 governor-appointed position, 70 percent of those were waiting to be filled by the governor, either due to vacancies or expired terms. Some boards, the audit notes, still exist, even though there seems to be no interest or need for their existence.
“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,” 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 gave the Nixon administration an overall rating of “fair”, but also highlighted other issues like the costs of the Governor’s Office, security detail operations and Governor’s Mansion expenses.
Galloway’s audit also said that for the years 2015 and 2016, the Missouri General Assembly appropriated $6.1 million for the Governor’s Office, security detail and mansion, but the actual costs exceeded that amount by $2.2 million.
The audit located issues with the methods used to distribute those expenses among several different agencies, as well as “concerns with the use of state resources for political and personal purposes and employee travel expenses.”
You can read the full audit report here.
The vacancies and expired terms in Missouri’s boards and commissions are not necessarily a new subject; in fact, it’s an item that has been highlighted as an area needing an overhaul by the current administration.
The Boards and Commissions Task Force, co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Mike Parson and Scott Turk, the Director of Boards and Commissions, was created through Gov. Eric Greitens’ Executive Order 17-11. Their task is to look into the need for each existing board or commission and determine their cost-effectiveness while also identifying ways to reduce or eliminate the size and structure of each body.
The task force is expected to submit a proposal to the Governor no later than October 31.
Wendy Doyle, President and CEO of Women’s Foundation, issued the following statement after the audit was released:
“Missouri has a golden opportunity to empower more women to lead and succeed economically. State Auditor Nicole Galloway’s audit highlighting the large number of board and commission vacancies in Missouri presents an opportunity to advance two things Women’s Foundation has been working towards: 1) appointing more women to public leadership positions, and 2) reducing unnecessary licensing barriers that hold women back. We look forward to working with Governor Eric Greitens, Lt. Gov Mike Parsons and other Missouri officials to help more women lead, which is imperative for good governance, and achieve economic independence.”
Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined The Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield.