California State Auditor
|California State Auditor|
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2012-2013 FY Budget:||$26,753,000|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||California Government Code, Title 2, Chapter 6.5, Article 1, Sections 8543 and 8543.2|
|Selection Method:||Appointed by governor|
|Other California Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Controller • Superintendent of Public Instruction • Agriculture Secretary • Insurance Commissioner • Natural Resources Secretary • Industrial Relations Director • Public Utilities Commission|
The auditor's role is unique in that he or she, while appointed by the governor with the approval of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, is independent of both the executive and legislative branches. Theoretically, this gives the auditor the ability to evaluate the activities of all parts of state government without being politically beholden to any.
The current auditor is Elaine Howle, who was first appointed to the position in 2000. Howle has been re-appointed since.
Howle has worked in the state auditor's office for over 30 years; she began in 1983 as an entry-level auditor focusing on performance audits. She became a supervisor in 1987 and a principal auditor in 1994, before rising to the rank of deputy state auditor in 1999. She is a certified public accountant and a certified government financial manager. She also serves on a variety of committees for the National State Auditors Association. Howle holds a bachelor's degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from California State University at Sacramento.
California Government Code, Section 8543/8543.2
8543. There is hereby created in state government the Bureau of State Audits under the direction of the Milton Marks "Little Hoover" Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy. In order to be free of organizational impairments to independence, the bureau shall be independent of the executive branch and legislative control.
State law requires that the auditor "possess a combination of education and experience in auditing and management necessary to perform the duties of the office."
California Government Code, Section 8543.3
The State Auditor shall be chosen without reference to party affiliation and solely on the ground of fitness to perform the duties of the office. Prior to selection, the State Auditor shall possess a combination of education and experience in auditing and management necessary to perform the duties of the office.
The auditor is appointed by the Governor of California for a term of four years from a slate of three individuals nominated by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. The nominees must have received the approval of a majority of each house's committee membership.
California Government Code, Section 8543.2
(a) The head of the bureau is the State Auditor, who shall be appointed by the Governor from a list of three qualified individuals nominated by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee by a vote of at least a majority of the committee membership from each house of the Legislature.
There are no term limits associated with the office of auditor.
Vacancies in the office of auditor are filled in the same manner as normal appointments. Vacancy appointments are made to a full term.
The auditor is responsible for performing financial and performance audits of California state agencies and leading investigations of potential "improper governmental activity."
Performance audits are designed to measure the effectiveness of government initiatives, measure costs and benefits, the quality of existing performance measures and the extent to which programs duplicate each other. They also evaluate security measures, contingency plans, as well as the extent to which organizational goals are being achieved. Finally, the auditor's office may use performance audits to assess legislative proposals and analyze budget requests.
By comparison, financial audits are used to ensure state agency compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The state auditor's office conducts an annual "Single Audit" of the entire state government and examines every state transaction involving $10,000 or more.
The budget for the California State Audit Bureau in the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year was $26,753,000.
In 2010, the auditor received compensation in the amount of $175,000.
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- Governor: Jerry Brown (D)
- Lieutenant Governor: Gavin Newsom (D)
- Attorney General: Kamala D. Harris (D)
- Auditor of State: Elaine Howle
- Secretary of State: Debra Bowen (D)
- Secretary of Agriculture: Karen Ross
- Treasurer of State: Bill Lockyer (D)
- California State Auditor, " Mission and Philosophy," accessed December 4, 2013
- California State Auditor, "About Elaine Howle," accessed June 27, 2011.
- California Government Code, "Title 2, Chapter 6.5, Article 1, Sections 8543 and 8543.2," accessed June 27, 2011.
- California Government Code, "Title 2, Chapter 6.5, Article 1, Section 8543.3," accessed June 27, 2011.
- California Government Code, "Title 2, Chapter 6.5, Article 1, Section 8543.2," accessed June 27, 2011.
- California State Auditor, "About Us," accessed June 27, 2011.
- California State Auditor, "Biennial Report, 2001-2002," accessed June 27, 2011.
- California Department of Finance, "Enacted Budget FY 2012-2013," accessed May 28, 2013
- California Government Code, "Section 8543.7," accessed June 29, 2011.
- California Government Code, "Section 11550," accessed June 29, 2011.
- The Council of State Governments, "Book of the States 2013, Table 4.11," accessed February 2, 2014.
- Council of State Governments, "Book of the States 2010 -- Table 4.11," accessed June 23, 2011.