You may wonder why voters elect a county auditor to serve as the chief fiscal officer. Wouldn’t county government by more efficient if county auditors were appointed by a county CEO, similar to a private business? The answer is no.
Voters “hire” county auditors. That makes county auditors accountable to the taxpayers and no one else. That independence gives county auditors the authority to look over the shoulders of everyone working in county government to make sure that tax dollars are spent for a proper public purpose. It’s the county auditor’s job to question every request for money from the dozens of county offices that ask for it. County auditors can’t be influenced to spend money where it‘s not supposed to go.
Likewise, county auditors appraise home values independently and without bias. Their decisions determine how much money will come into county coffers from property taxes to be spent on public services.
Now imagine if instead of being elected by the people, county auditors were appointed by a county executive, a bureaucrat.
County auditors’ loyalties naturally would shift from you, the taxpayer, to the county executive to whom they would owe their jobs. What could happen if the politicians wanted to fund a pet project, but there’s not enough money in the county treasury? They could pressure county auditors into appraising home values too high to raise more money. Or, auditors could be pressured to approve questionable expenditures for fear of losing their jobs.
For more than 150 years, county auditors in Ohio have been elected by the people. As taxpayers, we need government to be more accountable than ever to protect our tax dollars. That’s why it’s vital that Ohioans continue to elect county auditors.