Rob Sand

(Des Moines) -- Iowa's state auditor is using the social media in an effort to connect with citizens.

State Auditor Rob Sand invites the public to participate in "Transparent Tuesdays" on his Facebook page. Each Tuesday at 4:45 p.m., Sand discusses his office's activities in a special web program via Facebook live. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Friday morning, Sand says it's a great way for him to reach out to constituents.

"I tell folks kind of the highlights of what I was up to that week," said Sand, "then I answer their questions. It's just a really nice opportunity to check in with Iowans from all over the state, and ask them what's on their mind, and give them an update on what our office has been working on."

Sand also discusses some of his office's recent audits and investigations. He says many of the same problems are detected in audits of municipal and county government, plus school districts, including failure to segregate financial duties.

"When people are handling cash," he said, "you want to make sure that different people have different roles to play in the handling of that cash, because if you give one person the keys to the kingdom, and let them do everything, that's one of the most wide open opportunities to conduct acts of fraud or embezzlement. So, making sure that you're splitting up that job is really important."

Sand says finding enough people who are qualified to handle financial matters is often difficult in smaller communities.

"If you have people in town that are trained, that have some experience in handling finances, you could actually bring in a volunteer to help out, or to assist," said Sand. "If you got folks at the county level that do it, you could take maybe the county and the city employees, and for the county duties, have both the county and city employees step in, then again for the city duties, have both the city and the county employees step in. So, you've got someone outside the organization, and by pooling the resources in terms of people, it might help to get a little bit of a better job done."

Another common mistake made by cities, counties and schools involves conflicts of interest pertaining to vendors.

"You might have someone who's an employee at that school district, or on that school board who also is a vendor, and has a contract with a school board," he said, "or, maybe they're getting paid to mow the lawn, or something like that. That can be just fine. It's just a question of making sure that you're bidding about, and trying to make sure you're getting the lowest cost bidder for that taxpayer dollar. So, those are pretty typical issues at the local level."

There's a link to Rob Sand's Facebook page here. You can also hear the full interview on our "Morning Line" page.

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