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AUDITOR OF ACCOUNTS
While the treasurer’s duties involve receiving and disbursing monies from the accounts of the state, the auditor is responsible for making certain that those accounts are arranged and maintained correctly and efficiently.
In 1783, a temporary act was passed which provided for the audit and arrangement of the accounts of the State to make them more efficient.1 When it and a subsequent 1786 extension expired, a permanent act of 1787 provided for a permanent auditor (five year term) whose job was to inspect, verify, and adjust all the accounts of the State. This person was authorized to settle all claims against the State; to subpoena witnesses when necessary; and to prepare and state annually a general account of all debts due to the State. The General Assembly also gave the auditor the responsibility for settling all accounts between the state and the Federal government, including Revolutionary War debts.2
The auditor’s range of accountability was greatly expanded in 1798, specifically being responsible for the accounts of the secretary of state, state treasurer, collected fines and fees of all sheriffs and constables, county treasurers, trustees of the poor, road commissioners, school commissioners, clerk of the peace, sinking fund commissioner, insurance commissioner, escheator, attorney general, Board of Immigration commissioner, Board of Health, and trustees to the Delaware State Hospital. The auditor, upon the order of the General Assembly, was to establish the rates of state tax assessment, which were then presented to the state treasurer for collection. He was also to receive duplicates of the assessment lists for all counties.3
The auditor’s annual report to the General Assembly included a statement of all of the aforementioned accounts, an estimate of the current year’s expenditures and revenue, a statement of all outstanding debts owed to the state, and an abstract of the county assessment lists.4
A new accounting system was instituted in 1921, whereby it became unlawful for any state agency or employee to create any indebtedness (bills, requisitions, etc.) without prior approval from the auditor on proper forms. No payment of salaries or agency expenses was permitted without approval by the auditor. The auditor was to maintain ledgers of these approvals, and all subsequent payments, as well as records of all state property and any outstanding debts. Upon annual submission of each agency’s accounts, the auditor performed an audit for each.5
With the creation of the Budget Office (RG 1305) in 1963, most of the pre-audit functions were transferred from the auditor to the new agency. The Budget Office was responsible for all pre-audit activities, authorization of payments, and control of receipts. The auditor was now only responsible for post-audit activities, fiscal investigations, and the preparation and submission of audit reports. The audit reports, prepared annually on all state agencies, showed documented authorization for all expenditures; accountability for all receipts; any illegal activities; and any recommend procedures for simplification, improved accuracy, efficiency, and economy.6
In 1969, the auditor was instructed to conduct quarterly audits of the State Treasurer, reconciling all accounts with the balances maintained by the Budget Office.7 The auditor’s term of office was changed to four years in 1978.8 As of 1986, the auditor was relieved of the responsibility for reporting justice of the peace debt totals to the Department of Finance.9
AUDITOR OF ACCOUNTS
1 2 D.L., ch. 106.
2 2 D.L., ch. 142, 143.
3 3 D.L., ch. 5.
5 32 D.L., ch. 30.
6 54 D.L., ch. 39.
7 57 D.L., ch. 45.
8 61 D.L., ch. 529.
mm; March 16, 1988; March 22, 1988;
Revised – jrf 3/89; March 21, 1989
Related Topics: Auditor of Accounts