June 11, 2020

A lot has happened in the last few weeks in North Carolina with huge issues front and center in the news. As important as it is to stay current and relevant on these issues, we do not want to let slide news items that deserve attention.

State Auditor Beth Wood has been busy, recently dropping a bombshell on the NC Department of Transportation in a report she gave to a North Carolina Senate committee hearing on May 20 about how mismanagement of the NCDOT budget in the last fiscal year led to overspending of $742 million.

Auditor Wood described the problems with the NCDOT in an interview with ABC11 after the report, citing “The lack of oversight, the lack of slowing spending, the lack of monitoring spend plans…. There is no oversight. There is nobody to ensure that once there’s a spending plan in place, there’s no one overseeing them or holding them accountable to stay in line with that spending plan.”

That’s not the only good government action taken by Wood in recent days. Auditor Wood has been busy shining sunshine on local government in Rocky Mount with an investigative report issued May 15 on alleged misconduct by Rocky Mount elected officials and city employees. The report was initiated when Auditor Wood’s office received 200 complaints on a hotline to the State Auditor’s office. 

One of the main items examined was that apparently several city officials kept the city’s utility payment office from collecting more than $47,000 in past-due utility bills owed by Mayor Pro-Tem Andre Knight – a City Council veteran since 2003. According to the report, when the utility payment staff was prevented from collecting on the bills from Knight, they began to write off the unpaid bills. The report went on to detail other findings involving a former mayor and the current city manager.

Kudos to State Auditor Wood for taking action on behalf of open and transparent government in North Carolina. In these uncertain times, it’s good to know she’s working to protect taxpayers.