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Published on April 23, 2024
Arizona State Boards in Hot Water Over Financial Irregularities, Auditor's Report RevealsSource: Gage Skidmore, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

State boards in Arizona have found themselves under scrutiny after an annual review shed light on financial irregularities in per diem compensations and expense reimbursements among members. Following a report by the Arizona auditor's office, it was revealed that four state boards failed to toe the line when it came to adhering to state policies. The report, released on April 22nd, highlighted the Arizona Power Authority (APA), Independent Redistricting Commission, Corporation Commission, and State Board of Education for their reimbursement discrepancies during fiscal year 2022.

Specifically, the APA came under fire for questionable governance structures and financial practices. The chairman, who reportedly held dual roles with potentially conflicting duties that may clash, with State law; and both the chairman, and vice chairman were found to have approved their own per diem compensation and expense payments—which represents a break from the State of Arizona Accounting Manual (SAAM) standards. This lapse in procedural integrity led to an overpayment to the chairman, a bottom-line number of $281.

The Arizona auditor's report didn’t let the other boards off lightly either. The Independent Redistricting Commission, Corporation Commission, and State Board of Education were all spotlighted for not reimbursing board members in line with state policies. This suggests a systematic disregard for the rules that are designed to ensure accountability and the responsible management of public funds.

There is, however, a glimmer of rectification amidst the findings. The Arizona Game and Fish Department, which was previously called out in the fiscal year 2021 report for similar issues, has since implemented the recommended changes. This turnabout stands as an isolated bright spot in an otherwise murky pool of financial oversight. As these discrepancies come to light, it remains to be seen what actions will be taken to tighten controls and restore public trust in the financial conduct of state officials.