Because I believe strongly that accessible information improves accountability, I am sharing with you the questions I am asked as a candidate. I am also sharing with you my answers.
If elected, I promise to continue to make myself accessible in modern and traditional ways.
I am running for County Auditor because I believe I can make a difference in a way that hasn't happened in Davis County. As the son of an Air Force officer and a farm girl, I was raised that if you see a need, you serve and do what you can to make a difference.
I know I can make a difference and help the County to be more financially responsible.
I would spearhead the creation of a County Strategic Plan. Fortune 500 companies use them, local governments throughout the country use them, we should have one for Davis County. We need to plan not just 5 years out, but we need to know where we are going 20 years and more into the future.
I would put County purchasing information, budget information, and all county audits online. No more need to file a GRAMA request to hold the County accountable. You can do it with a few clicks of your mouse.
I would conduct performance audits. In the last four years my opponent has not completed any performance audits. And there have been only seven completed audit reports.
I would improve the quality and quantity of County Audits by applying international auditing standards. The seven county audits completed in the last four years do not appear to use standards. The Standards are an audit nerd's key to ensuring quality, objectivity, and completeness. I am an audit nerd.
I would ensure the County Audit Committee complies with the Open and Public Meetings Act. In the last year the audit committee has not posted any of its approved meeting minutes or audio of its meetings. Utah Code requires it. I communicated this error in February to the Commissioners' Office. In nearly a month it had not been corrected (it has since been corrected).
I would publish a list of current and planned performance audits. I will welcome any recommendations from the community in what audits we should consider.
I would report the budget using methods recommended by the Association of Government Accountants. Everyone should be able to understand the County Budget. Not just people with advanced degrees and the patience to read 100+ pages of budget documents.
I have been asked this several times at recent meet the candidate events. I'll address these two separately.
1. Complainants, tipsters, informants, whistleblowers. They are the heroes who use the auditor hotline to suggest an audit. According to the Government Records Access Management Act (GRAMA), their identity is a protected record. So we will absolutely not reveal their identity in a completed audit report. Especially since, according to GRAMA, completed audit reports are public record. If elected I will post all audit reports without revealing the identity of the complainant. During the audit, I will ensure we take steps to protect the complainant's identity in the way we ask questions, and gather and review records. In general I will not use individual names in County audit reports, with rare exception.
2. The goal is to effect positive change, not play gotcha or embarrass anyone. That said, I won't hesitate to publish an audit report because a public official, elected or otherwise, might feel embarrassed about the content of the report. As a certified auditor, I will make sure each audit report is written in a professional manner. Again, with rare exceptions, I will not use individual names in County audit reports. I will welcome any independent and objective audits of work performed by me or under my direction. Professional audits are independent, objective, and based on documented evidence.
Not publishing a public record because it might embarrass a public official is a philosophy of protecting the insiders. My modus operandi is to protect the public's interests. Not making audit reports easily accessible puts up walls of bureaucracy in an effort to hide the government's mistakes. It diminishes the independence of the auditor. And if that is the motivation for not publishing an audit report, it may be unethical and I'm not sure the auditor can claim independence or objectivity.
If Davis County were Davis Inc we would not publish the audit reports. But the taxpayers are the owners of the County. Taxpayers should have the information they need to ensure the County is operating as intended. Audit reports should be published so taxpayers can know what problems are being identified and if the County is working to fix them. They should be published so they know when a new audit has been completed. They should be published so they know the County Auditor is doing his job.
When the Commissioners voted unanimously to split the Clerk and Auditor Offices I was there. I went on record to say that it was a great idea, that there is a significant advantage to having a dedicated, certified County Auditor.
I later learned from a conversation with a commissioner that they had been considering splitting the offices for years. They waited until the election cycle had started to make the move. That's disappointing if not irresponsible or negligent. I do think that splitting the Clerk and Auditor offices now is still a better option than going another four years with a clerk/auditor.
Short answer: Yes. Our elections are important, they should be audited by an independent and objective auditor.
Long answer: One advantage to splitting the Clerk/Auditor office is that the County Auditor can audit County elections and still remain objective. You can't investigate your own work and remain objective.
I should point out that I have experience auditing elections. In prior audits (all available online on the State Auditor's website), I found different ways taxpayer resources were being used to influence elections. By shining the spotlight, we were able to put a stop to this misuse of taxpayer resources.
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Yes.
I think the Founding Fathers intended for most every elected office to be a temporary post. Yes, experience matters, absolutely it does. The good news is that my work in the Office of the Utah State Auditor has given my valuable experience that transitions extremely well to the County Auditor position.
There is a significant danger when a career politician transitions into "I'm running to protect my job". It stops being about serving the people and it becomes self serving. Accountability dies as walls go up to protect self and insider allies. Term limits, whether voluntary or imposed, help prevent that self service.
It is my intention to become the County Auditor, set the example of how it can be done right, and then move on. That comes with a very high degree of uncertainty. What will I do after two potential terms in office? I have no clue. That unknown can be intimidating. But as intimidating as that may be, I genuinely feel that my Davis County neighbors and friends are worth it. I would not be running if I did not feel strongly about serving and making a difference.
... If so would you implement them within the Auditor Office if not already?"
I am an auditor nerd and so I LOVE this question! As a certified auditor working in Auditor Dougall's Office, I have encountered this issue a number of times. The concentration of too many financial duties in too few individuals may be a huge red flag for fraud.
Davis County should be sophisticated enough to provide for proper separation of duties. That means ensuring the duties of holding on to the money or checks, recording transactions, authorizing transactions, and reconciling accounts should be separated. If they can't be, then processes need to be put in place to guard against that fraud risk.
That is an important concept not only for the Auditor's Office but the entire county. If I am elected we will routinely assess County offices for inadequate separation of duties.
To fully answer the question, job rotation is one process you can implement when you can't get adequate separation of duties. It helps reduce the risk fraud can go undetected for any period of time but doesn't necessarily stop it from happening.
I have been asked occasionally about my stance on critical race theory, abortion, who I voted for, etc.
My response, I vote my conscious. I vote Republican. The most efficient response I can give is that I support the Davis County GOP platform. You can read that here.
Please encourage your county delegate to vote for the only certified auditor in the race. You may also consider sharing this website or liking and sharing the Tyson Plastow for Auditor Facebook Page.
Please email me if you would like to volunteer for my campaign.
If you would like to donate even a small amount, the easiest way is through Venmo. I am truly touched by any and all donations. 100% of your donations are used to cover the many costs of running a campaign. Since I am not a political insider, I'm funded by family and friends that believe in me, not special interest groups.