History of the State Auditor's Office

State Auditor's Office Seal

State Auditor

John Keel
2004 – Present

Lawrence F. Alwin
1985 – 2004

George McNiel
1968 – 1985

C. H. Cavness
1943 – 1968

State Auditor and Efficiency Expert

C.H. Cavness
1942-1943

Buford D. Battle
1941

Tom C. King
1937-1941

C. B. (Neal) Sheffield
1936
(resigned early)

Orville S. Carpenter
1935-1936 (resigned early)

George B. Simpson
1933-1935

Lynn Moore
1929-1933

In 1929, the 41st Legislature created the first "State Auditor and Efficiency Expert" position in Texas state government. The position was in the executive branch, and the individual in that position was appointed by the Governor. The State Auditor and Efficiency Expert was authorized to inspect all books and records of all the officers, departments, and institutions of state government and to investigate all custodians of public funds and disbursing officers of the State. In addition, the State Auditor and Efficiency Expert was allowed to examine departments for duplication of efforts and efficiency of employees. The State Auditor and Efficiency Expert was allowed to serve for two years and could be removed or discharged at any time by the Governor. Between 1929 and 1943, the position of State Auditor and Efficiency Expert was subject to frequent turnover.

In 1943, the 48th Legislature amended the enabling legislation to provide for the appointment of the "State Auditor" by the legislative branch instead of by the Governor. Other changes included the creation of the Legislative Audit Committee, the legislative body responsible for appointing the State Auditor and specifying the qualifications, powers, and duties of the State Auditor. The Committee included the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the Chairman of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, the Lieutenant Governor, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on State Affairs. The law also required that the individual appointed State Auditor be a certified public accountant. Since the position was moved to the legislative branch of state government, there have been only four State Auditors.

In 1987, the 70th Legislature expanded the authority of the State Auditor and allowed the State Auditor to conduct audits of all agencies, including institutions of higher education, as specified in the audit plan. The 70th Legislature also specified the types of audits that could be performed. These audits included: financial audits, compliance audits, economy and efficiency audits, effectiveness audits, special audits, and investigations, all of which were specified in Texas Government Code, Chapter 321.

The law passed by the 70th Legislature also specified that all audits were to be conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards as prescribed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, the United States General Accounting Office, or other professionally recognized entities that prescribe auditing standards. In addition, the State Auditor was required to develop an audit plan for each fiscal year and consider recommendations made by the Audit Coordination Committee, which included representatives from the Legislative Budget Board, the Sunset Advisory Commission, and the State Auditor's Office.

Since 1987, various legislation has clarified the responsibilities and authority of the State Auditor. The 78th Legislature made the most recent changes to the composition of the Legislative Audit Committee in 2003, when it modified the structure of the six-member committee. The place held by the Chair of the Senate State Affairs Committee was replaced with a senator appointed by the Lieutenant Governor. In addition, the 78th Legislature passed legislation that made the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Lieutenant Governor joint chairs of the Legislative Audit Committee.

The following are the types of audits and other responsibilities the State Auditor is authorized to perform.

Financial Audits

A financial audit is an audit to determine whether the records, books, and accounts of the audited entity accurately reflect its financial and fiscal operations and whether effective accounting controls are maintained.

Compliance Audits

A compliance audit is an audit to determine whether funds are received and used for the purposes appropriated or authorized by law.

Economy and Efficiency Audits

An economy and efficiency audit is an audit to determine whether resources, including state funds, personnel, property, equipment, and space, are being managed in an economical and efficient manner and the financial, program, and statistical reports of the audited entity contain useful data and accurate information.

Effectiveness Audits

An effectiveness audit is an audit to determine, according to established or designated program objectives, responsibilities or duties, statutes and regulations, program performance criteria, or program evaluation standards, whether the objectives and intended benefits are being achieved efficiently and effectively; and whether the program duplicates, overlaps, or conflicts with another state program.

Special Audits

A special audit is a financial audit of limited scope.

Investigations

An investigation is an inquiry into specified acts or allegations of impropriety, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in the obligation, expenditure, receipt, or use of state funds, or into specified financial transactions or practices that may involve such impropriety, malfeasance, or nonfeasance.

Classification

The position of State Classification Officer within the State Auditor's Office was created by the Position Classification Act in 1961 (House Bill 189, 57th Legislature, Regular Session). The State Classification Officer advises and assists agencies and higher education institutions in effectively managing their human resources by providing tools, educational services, and feedback. The State Classification Officer also revises state job descriptions, prepares employee leave interpretations and human resources technical updates, and is responsible for determining and reporting statewide turnover rates and the number of full-time equivalent employees.

Seal

The state auditor shall obtain a seal with "State Auditor, State of Texas " engraved around the margin and a five-pointed star in the center to be used to authenticate official documents issued by the state auditor.

Bibliography

"C.H. Cavness Again Chosen State Auditor," Dallas Morning News , August 11, 1943.

Blodgett, Terrell, Management Study of the Texas State Auditor’s Office (Special Project Report, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin). 1984.

The Handbook of Texas Online (Accessed April 20, 2006).

House Bill 7 (78th Legislature, 3rd Called Session).

House Bill 170 (41st Legislature, 1st Called Session).

House Bill 699 (70th Legislature, Regular Session).

Journal of the Senate of Texas (42nd Legislature, Regular Session), January 13, 1931.

Journal of the Senate of Texas (43rd Legislature, First Called Session), September 14, 1933.

  Journal of the Senate of Texas (44th Legislature, First Called Session), September 16, 1935.

  Journal of the Senate of Texas (44th Legislature, Third Called Session), September 28, 1936.

  Journal of the Senate of Texas (45th Legislature, Regular Session), January 12, 1937.

  Journal of the Senate of Texas (47th Legislature, Regular Session), January 14 1941.

  Journal of the Senate of Texas (48th Legislature, Regular Session), January 12, 1943.

Senate Bill 27 (48th Legislature, Regular Session).

Senate Bill 1418 (78th Legislature, Regular Session).

Texas Government Code, Chapter 321.

Texas Government Code, Chapter 654.  

Texas Office of the State Auditor: An Inventory of Records at the Texas State Archives, 1932, 1941-1944, 1947, 1949, 1951-1986, Texas State Library and Archives Commission. (Accessed April 20, 2006).

Thornton, William M. "Attorney General Declares Auditor’s Office Is Vacant," Dallas Morning News, March 20, 1941.

Thornton, William M. "C.H. Cavness Appointed State Auditor," Dallas Morning News , November 15, 1941.

Wasson, Alonzo. "Change in Status of Auditor Favored by Three Candidates," Dallas Morning News , June 12, 1938.