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Difference between revisions of "California State Auditor"

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==See also==
==See also==
{{California elected executive}}
*[[Elaine Howle]]
==External links==
==External links==

Revision as of 12:41, 24 December 2013

California State Auditor
General information
Office Type:  Nonpartisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012-2013 FY Budget:  $26,753,000
Term limits:  None
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
Current Officeholder

Elaine Howle.jpg
Name:  Elaine Howle
Assumed office:  2000
Compensation:  $175,000
Other California Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorControllerSuperintendent of Public InstructionAgriculture SecretaryInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources SecretaryIndustrial Relations DirectorPublic Utilities Commission
The California State Auditor is an appointed, quasi-executive office in the California state government. The auditor heads the Bureau of State Audits, which evaluates the performance and management of state agencies and ensures their financial statements accord with generally accepted accounting principles. The bureau also investigates "improper governmental activity" in California government ranging from economically wasteful practices to gross misconduct.[1]

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.

Current officeholder

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.[2]


Unlike the auditor's financial management counterparts, the treasurer and controller, the auditor is established by statute, not the Constitution.[3]

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.

8543.2. (a) The head of the bureau is the State Auditor...


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."[4]

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.[5]

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.

Term limits

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.[5]


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.[6]


  • Audit
  • Investigative
  • Administrative[7]

State budget

The budget for the California State Audit Bureau in the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year was $26,753,000.[8]


In 2010, the auditor received compensation in the amount of $175,000.[9] The auditor's salary, like that of all other non-elected executive department heads, is determined by Section 11550 of California's Government Code and is subject to annual increases.[10][11]

Historical officeholders

Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the California State Auditor has not yet been added because the information was unavailable on the relevant state official websites, or we are currently in the process of formatting the list for this office. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

California State Auditor News Feed

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See also

External links