Merry Christmas, Alabama

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 30, 2004

It never ceases to amaze me. Good news in government, while comparatively speaking doesn’t come in great abundance – gets little or no attention.

Last week, the state auditor’s office released a historic, record-breaking end of the year report of 93 percent perfect audits – an 82 percent increase in perfect audits while taking a 25 percent decrease in funds.

Better results with less money – now that’s good government.

To say that as state auditor, in my first term of office, I was proud of these historic accomplishments would be a vast understatement.

However, this is not about me. It’s about the people I am fortunate enough to manage.

These outstanding accomplishments are about the nine employees who work in my office and are taking on the work of the other six who left due to budget cuts and better offers in other agencies.

This is about agency directors who motivate their employees to be accountable and those who are.

This is about every single state agency’s property managers who work in often impossible situations with no additional pay to get their fellow employees to cooperate in finding state property that taxpayers paid for but they find unimportant – things like computers, guns, copy machines and yes, even cars and trucks.

Amazing I know to lose a car or truck, but believe me, it’s happened many times in state government.

This historic audit report is about average Alabamians who are also taxpayers, and feel we need more accountability in government, and they have worked hard to provide it.

They have tangibly provided it in record-breaking numbers for all taxpayers of the state to see and feel confident in our part of their government.

Citizens of this state hear all the bad news and little of the good news about the people in government who take accountability seriously. As a result, they have no trust in their government.

I admit there are plenty of reasons for that. So why not share the good news too?

This past year your state auditor’s office has been the most accountable agency in state government. We have given you more for less.

We have had tremendous help and corroboration from many state agencies. It has been a business and a team approach to government and one that has worked successfully to bring you accountability while saving you money.

Your state auditor’s office has given you, the taxpayers of this state, much better government with much less of your money. Since it is the season of giving and a time to spread happiness and cheer, Merry Christmas, taxpaying citizens of Alabama from our agency to you.

Beth Chapman serves as state auditor in Alabama. She resides with her husband, James, and sons, Taylor and Thatcher, in North Shelby County