Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber, during Thursday’s Delaware County Board of Commissioners session, presented Auditor George Kaitsa, his staff, and the county with the “Ohio Auditor of State Award with Distinction” for a clean state audit.
It’s Kaitsa’s second time receiving the auditor of state’s highest award.
“It is an honor to be here commissioners, auditor. You have a great county, but you know that,” Faber said. “The fact is we want to communicate to your constituents just what a great job you do.”
Faber said the bad side is dealing with about 140 criminal investigations in which he employs two full-time prosecutors to prosecute the people that are out there “lying, stealing and cheating.”
“Today is one of the good days. Today, we are recognizing Delaware County, particularly your auditor, with our top award,” he said. “This is the top 4% of all the 6,000 governments that we audit. In the auditor’s office, I always tell people that it’s easier to tell people what we don’t do than we do.”
Faber said his office doesn’t collect taxes or audit individuals, and they don’t audit businesses. He said his office does audit the 6,000 entities across the state that spend taxpayer dollars.
“We’re Bob and Betty Buckeye’s check and balance on government, waste, fraud and abuse,” he said. “In that capacity, we audit 4,500 entities every single year with another 1,500 getting audited every other year.”
Faber told commissioners that it is only a small few out of the top 4% that are recognized with the state award with distinction.
“That is the award that I’m here to present today to your county and specifically to your county auditor,” Faber emphasized. “This is a really big deal. Very few counties get this award, in comparison.”
Faber said in having this level of recognition, in a county like Delaware, means the books and records are reliable without question. He said the award also represents that the county has good checks and controls in place, along with good professional people who make it all work.
“It also means you have a political group from the county commissioners’ office, to the prosecutor, and to the sheriff, who work together to do the people’s business,” he said. “That is something that you should be very proud of.”
“On behalf of the people of Ohio and on behalf of my office, the State Auditor’s Office, I want to present this to George (Kaitsa) on behalf of the county, and thank you for your great work,” Faber said when handing the award to Kaitsa.
During the event, Kaitsa recognized Deputy Auditor Seiji Kille and Senior Accountant Dawn Hall, both of whom he said were instrumental in working on and preparing for the audit.
“I would also like to recognize all the elected officials, directors, and fiscal managers within the county that work so closely with our office in terms of providing information and making sure that information is accurate,” he said. “As State Auditor Faber stated, our records are auditable and in excellent shape that people can rely on them.”
Commissioner Gary Merrell said Delaware County probably has the best auditor in the state.
“We’re very proud of him,” he said. “It just shows that as a county, we take fiscal responsibility very seriously. Not only does the auditor take it very seriously, but we as commissioners and every elected official in this county, I believe, takes that seriously.”
Merrell went on to say that as representatives of the county taxpayers, “the integrity of the process is extremely important” in building the trust that tax dollars are spent appropriately “in a fiscally responsible way.”
Commissioner Barb Lewis said the “scope” of the commissioners’ office touches all of the citizens of the county. She said she has developed a deep respect for Kaitsa’s integrity in all that he does.
“It is always right,” she said. “We are very blessed to have you. You are a leader and have proven to be a leader in the state. We are extremely proud of you.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.