Mission and Role of the Legislator Auditor
The mission of the Audit Division is to support the Legislature in meeting its constitutional duties by providing independent and reliable information to improve accountability and effectiveness of state government. This is accomplished by providing members of the Legislature with factual information concerning the operations of state agencies, programs, activities, and functions; working with state agencies to identify opportunities to improve accountability, reduce waste, and enhance program effectiveness; and recommending to the Legislature the amendment of existing laws or the enactment of new laws designed to improve the functioning of state agencies.
The key to improving any organization is an objective assessment of the performance of that organization. That is the type of assessment that is provided by legislative audits of state agencies. These audits, which are conducted in accordance with rigorous professional standards, provide an independent and unbiased evaluation of government operations. Performed by experienced staff who are familiar with the intricacies of government operations, the audits include specific recommendations for improvement.
The findings and recommendations of the Audit Division are published in formal reports which include constructive suggestions for change. Since the purpose of an audit is to improve government operations, state agency officials are given the opportunity to respond to a draft report to ensure that observations are accurate and conclusions are appropriate. The comments of these officials are carefully considered in preparing the final audit report. Audit reports are presented to the Legislative Commission or the Audit Subcommittee of the Legislative Commission at public meetings. However, if the Legislature is in session and the Chairman of the Audit Subcommittee does not call a meeting within five days after being notified that an audit report is ready for presentation, the report is issued. After presentation, copies of the reports are made available to each member of the Legislature, state officials, and the public.
The Legislative Commission approves the biennial audit program of the Legislative Auditor and may direct him to make any special audit or investigation considered necessary. The Legislature may also direct the Legislative Auditor to conduct special audits or investigations through legislation.
The scope of the audits vary depending upon the nature and purpose of the agency. The integrity of fiscal affairs receive substantial consideration in the planning phase of each audit. Substantial consideration is given to the agencies' compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Emphasis is also placed in providing an independent assessment of the performance of an agency, program, activity, or function. This is done in order to provide information to improve public accountability and facilitate decision-making by the Legislature or those responsible for initiating corrective action. This may include determining if an agency is operating in an economical or efficient manner, or determining the extent to which a program achieves a desired level of results.
The Legislative Auditor is a statutory officer appointed by the Director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau with the approval of the Legislative Commission for an indefinite term whose qualifications and duties are defined by law. The Legislative Auditor serves as staff to the Nevada Legislature and its various committees, and is the chief of the Audit Division.