Sunday, December 09, 2007

Today's word: accountability

In its latest email dispatch, the Olentangy School District poofs its chest for the following announcement:

Olentangy Earns State Auditor’s Making Your Tax Dollars Count Award

State Auditor Mary Taylor’s office presented the Olentangy Local School District with the Making Your Tax Dollars Count Award for the district 2005 fiscal year audit. This marks the second time in five years that the district has earned the award. Fewer than five percent of all Ohio government run agencies are eligible for this honor.

The "Making Your Tax Dollars Count" award is presented a year following the close of the fiscal year. Criteria include that the entity must complete and submit a Comprehensive Annual Financial Review (CAFR), have no findings or issues present in their most recent audit report and that there are no other financial concerns involving the entity.

Taylor commented on the award stating, “I commend Olentangy Local School District for their commitment to fiscal accountability. Congratulations for your hard work and for being trustworthy stewards of taxpayer dollars."

Accountability is simply compliance with district and governmental rules and regulations. In other words, no evidence of misappropriations, theft, etc., was found. It does not mean that the money was spent effectively, efficiently, or appropriately.

Example: The board recently gave the superintendent a huge, unwarranted increase in compensation. The Auditor's office is not opining on that decision. They simply make certain that the money was deposited into the superintendent's account as required by his contract.

Accountability does not mean that money is being spent wisely, or that expenditures have led to increased performance. Don't confuse accountability with wise spending.

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