State auditor, Kentucky
Adam Edelen is moving the state auditor’s office into the digital era. He and his team developed software (called SAFE-house) that lets citizens digitally report taxpayer fraud, waste and abuse. The internal system was overhauled too, with a digital platform called TIPS.
“There’s no better tool for guaranteeing accountability and transparency than technology,” Edelen said. “It [lets] me provide oversight to important government functions, to make determinations about how efficient, effective and honest public resources are expended, and also empowers the public to be watchdogs.”
Edelen also identified $2.7 billion in annual unreported government spending by more than 1,200 special taxing districts in the state. He now requires those districts to report their fees, spending and taxes. Before that, no one knew how much money was being handled or who was responsible for those funds, he said.
“That’s not reflective of how any organization should run in the digital age, particularly one that has a watchdog mandate like ours,” said Edelen, who codified the reporting practice in landmark legislation passed last year.
Now he’s pursuing a bill to let Kentucky join 46 other states that require state government to inform citizens when personal information may have been compromised. The bill has co-sponsorship from 63 of the 100 state House representatives, said Edelen’s office.