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California controller wants more authority, money to investigate fraud by cities; do you support that idea?

January 26, 2011 | 10:11 am

Talk back LACalifornia State Controller John Chiang, whose auditors have issued several highly critical audits of the city of Bell, is asking Gov. Jerry Brown for more legal tools and more staff to dig into the finances of other cities and municipal agencies, the Los Angeles Times' Patrick McGreevy reported Wednesday. ("California controller seeks more power, staff to examine city finances.")

Chiang's staff has received more than 50 tips about potential financial irregularities and alleged misconduct in cities, counties and special districts.

"Bell may not be entirely unique," said Walter Barnes, chief of special projects for the controller's office.

McGreevy reports that having the controller regularly launch audits of municipal books would create a new layer of oversight for cities. The controller's office can currently perform audits to look at misspending of state or federal funds but has limited authority to examine how cities spend their own money.

What do you think? Should the state controller be given more authority? Should Brown boost Chiang's budget to allow him to investigate more municipal impropriety? Tell us what you think below.

RELATED:

Outside audits of Bell were "rubber stamp," state controller says

Bell must give up $2.9 million in illegal property taxes

Bell's Rizzo mishandled state and federal funds, state audit finds

-- Kimi Yoshino

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