Proposed Bill Would Require Outside Financial Review of Small State Agencies

Lawmakers introduced a new bill Monday that would require small state agencies in Nebraska to be audited by the Department of Administrative Services or another state agency authorized by DAS.

The law would apply to agencies with fewer than seven full-time employees.

The Performance Audit Committee introduced the bill in response to questionable expenses at the Nebraska Abstractors Board. The state auditor's office identified problems with the board's finances in a June report.

The report says the board increased its annual application fee beyond what was allowed in state law, and contracted with the board's director for personal use of a state-owned laptop. It also found a $100 meal for two people who were neither board members nor employees, and a nearly $200 reimbursement to the director for candy, soft drinks and a gift card.

"The issues identified by the Auditor of Public Accounts reflect a pattern of non-compliance with state accounting policies and potentially state law," said Sen. John Harms, who chairs the Performance Audit Committee.

If passed, the bill would not have an impact on many agencies. Of the 19 non-code agencies with fewer than seven full-time employees, only four -- including the Abstracters Board -- do their own pre-audit reviews.

DAS already mentioned plans to rescind the authority of the Abstracters Board to conduct its own pre-audit reviews.