Name as it appears on the ballot: Beth A. Wood
Party affiliation: Democrat
Campaign website: bethwoodcampaign.com
Occupation & employer: NC State Auditor-CPA, NC Office of the State Auditor
Years lived in North Carolina: 66 years
1) Please tell us what in your record as a public official or private citizen demonstrates your ability to be an effective State Auditor. These might include career or community service—please be specific. What do you believe qualifies you for the job?
I am the only candidate running for this Office:
Who is a CPA.
Who worked in both the corporate arena for 10 years & worked 10 years in the Auditor’s Office before being elected to be State Auditor.
Who has actually performed the types of audits performed by the Office the State Auditor. You cannot lead what you yourself do not understand.
Has taught auditors in the Auditor’s Office, CPAs across the State and across the nation how to audit governmental entities.
Has a proven track record – over the last 12 years I have delivered audits with irrefutable findings, that identified hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars wastefully spent. Because the findings in audits performed under my Administration were irrefutable the General Assembly has implemented/changed laws to stop the wasteful spending.
2) What do you believe are the three most pressing issues facing the State Auditor’s office? If elected, what would you do to address them?
$4 Billion of Federal Cares Act money sent to NC to help get the state back on its feet after COVID-19 and to ensure that when the deadline for spending the money (12/31/2020) arrives, the Cares Act moneys will have been spent efficiently, were properly accounted for but more importantly the moneys accomplished the objectives for which they were intended. To accomplish this, we are already auditing those agencies receiving the bulk of the Cares Act money to see if they have a plan to account for, monitor and set metrics to ensure the moneys accomplish all they were intended to accomplish.
Identifying the most moneys/programs that have a statewide impact that are at risk for wasteful/abusive spending or inefficient administration more quickly for auditors to engage in an audit. To accomplish this, we will maximize the newly built Data Analytics Division to use “big” data to identify patterns, outliers, clusters,etc that indicate risk of wastefully spent taxpayer dollars or inefficiently run programs.
Getting State agencies to fix the wasteful spending that the Auditor’s Office finds. To accomplish this, under my Administration I will continue to hire & train the best and the brightest auditors and I will continue to ensure that audits are performed that results in irrefutable findings (no one can argue with them) so the Governor & the General Assembly can require the corrective actions needed to stop the wasteful spending.
3) What areas of state spending do you believe will demand your sustained attention? Please be specific.
Moneys used at the Department of Transportation to build/maintain NC roads and bridges. We just released an audit that shows DOT over spent their 2019 budget by $742M taxpayer dollars because of poor oversight of their budget/spending/cash flow.
Medicaid program money. This is the most complicated largest program administered by the State, comprising over 25% of the State’s total budget.
Moneys spent at Department of Public Instruction for the delivery of Education to students K-12. This is the 2nd largest pot of taxpayer dollars spent (23% of the State’s total budget) AND there are indications from an audit done of online courses developed and delivered by DPI that all courses being taught in the NC Public School system may not be meeting NC Education Standards required by law.
4) The Auditor’s office is expected to stay out of politics. What steps will you take to assure the public that you and your office are meeting that standard?
Standards require that audits performed by the Office of the State Auditor are independent, objective, not biased and are nonpartisan. To ensure this is the case in “all” our work we have reiterated that standard in policy and our culture. Under my Administration we don’t care who is at fault for wasteful spending whether the findings left or they lean right. We report what we find and the findings are “always” supported by irrefutable evidence.
Staff who cannot leave their politics at the door when they come to work do not get to work in this Administration.
5) What steps will you take as Auditor to build trust that the office is applying the law equally to each subject of an investigation?
The same steps the Office has always taken. The subject is triaged in an independent and objective manner/criteria and the triage and the allegations go through 3 reviews to ensure the right decisions were made regarding to pursue an investigation or not.
6) How would you encourage more outreach that encourages citizens to offer information about the abuse of taxpayer dollars? Are there any particular initiatives you would pursuit to increase engagement?
Under my Administration the OSA developed a phone app for citizens to report fraud/illegal activity.
Pre-COVID-19, I spoke at Civic clubs weekly seeking just such information.
The Office has a hotline and email for anonymous tips.
Our reports are public and when we publish a report on illegal behavior many more tips come in.
7) Is there anything else you wish to address that was not included in this questionnaire?
Just to repeat, I have a proven track record, given my work over the last 12 years; I am the only candidate with the credentials, experience and qualifications to sit in this seat. I have removed all politics from the work performed by the Office of the State Auditor; and, under my Administration, the Office has identified hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, wastefully spent, and produced irrefutable findings.
Comment on this questionnaire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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