State auditor talks about being "independent watchdog" and millions saved
COLUMBIA - State Auditor Nicole Galloway says she wants to reassure the people of Missouri she works for them, not government.
“I don’t represent the state, I don’t represent the city of Columbia. I represent citizens,” Galloway said.
Galloway talked about the whistleblower hotline her department offers.
It gives individuals a chance to submit information confidentially about any waste, fraud or abuse in their state or local government.
“My role as state auditor is to be the independent watchdog working on behalf of citizens to make sure their tax dollars are spent wisely and are not wasted," she said.
Galloway said her department has identified about $130 million in waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement in the past two years.
"That is really unacceptable, and it is our job to point those issues out and then find solutions and make recommendations so government can work better for citizens,” Galloway said.
She also looked into the $500 million budget hole the state of Missouri is in for the next year.
Every Missourian’s income tax contributes to 70 percent of discretionary revenue as opposed to 50 percent in the 1990s. The revenue goes towards things like education and infrastructure.
Galloway said she is creating a plan to look into what kind of solutions can be made.
“It is critical that every dollar that you send to Jefferson City is being used as wisely as it can. Through our Budget Integrity Series, we’re taking a broad view at the money that comes into the state, but then also items on the spending side,” she said.
The public had questions at her appearance. The owner of West End Columbia Properties, Andy Waters, said he believes Galloway is committed to working for the community.
“It’s clear that she’s sincere about the approach that she takes to her job. She’s very committed to transparency and holding local governments accountable and taking a creative approach to the office she holds,” he said.