STATE AUDITOR’S OFFICE NEWS
Auditor Colón issues Risk Advisory to inform public officials and employees of existing concerns, potential for abuse, and encourages governmental entities to take meaningful steps to improve the proper oversight of travel expenditures.
State Auditor Brian Colón, concerned with unmitigated risks of waste and abuse related to the expenditure of public funds for work-related travel, takes action to emphasize the need for diligent review of policies and procedures regarding the management of travel expenditures through issuance of a Risk Advisory today. The Risk Advisory issued by the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) comes as State Auditor Colón expresses alarm over significant issues related to policies and practices for travel-related expenditures and reimbursement.
“Elected officials should never use their positions of power and authority to usurp control. As public officials we need to hold ourselves to the highest standards ensuring the public’s faith, trust, and funds are being handled with the utmost diligence and care,” said Auditor Colón. “We are entrusted to represent our constituents and their best interests, and public officials should never use their position of authority or power to override proper controls and policy,” Colón added.
The State Auditor sent letters of concern to the City of Albuquerque and the Otero County Commissioners, in connection with instances of travel-related waste or abuse and failures to follow policy. Failure to adhere to internal controls concerning the expenditure of funds for travel-related activities creates opportunities for waste and abuse, and diligent oversight is essential in government. All public servants have a responsibility to ensure their duties are upheld and to be good stewards of public funds. Policies must be in place to ensure proper practices that prevent waste and abuse. Luxury accommodations, reimbursement for personal travel, and other wasteful expenditures that do not provide a benefit to the government served should never occur. Oversight is critical during these uncertain times where governmental budgets are severely strained.
Colón stated, “Elected officials must set the proper “tone at the top” regarding internal controls that are necessary for preventing waste, fraud, or abuse of public funds. All governmental officials and agencies should seize the opportunity for improvements in policies, procedures, and practices for better, more ethical governance, both for travel-related expenditures and in general.”