North Dakota State Auditor responds to criticisms following several rural audits

Courtesy: North Dakota Office of the Governor
Courtesy: North Dakota Office of the Governor

(Bismarck, ND) -- The head of North Dakota's Auditor's Office is looking to address several comments and concerns following the audit of several rural first responder agencies across the state. 

Joshua Gallion, North Dakota's State Auditor, along with several rural first responders spoke on WDAY Radio's The Jay Thomas Show to speak on the audits and the costs accrued upon their completion. The Killdeer Area Ambulance Service was contacted by the North Dakota Auditor's Office to conduct an audit of their finances. At the end, the ambulance service received a $48,650 bill for the audit. This is not the only first responders to be hit with the fees, as the Gwinner Fire Department saw a $28,000 audit in 2022. 

"Nobody asked us for financial documents that were not given to them, and we gave them to the auditor of Dunn county every single year, "said Ann Hafner, the Director of Killdeer's Area Ambulance Service.

"We are seeing [that] audit costs have exploded across the entire state. Everything is more costly today, "said Gallion, who says the small government audit teams are not funded by state dollars and must make up their costs by the audits done. 

It looks like changes are being considered when it comes to preventing high audit costs in the future. Gallion says there needs to be improved communication between the entities across North Dakota, and that it needs to begin from the office itself. He says additional resources are needed to start outreach programs and better educate agencies on what the office needs to better conduct audits in the future. Gallion says they will also help agencies in the state if they cannot find a CPA to help agencies before an audit takes place. Additionally, the billing for the auditor's office is moving to be more structured and itemized, so organizations can see where the costs are going and why they are being justified.  For now, Gallion says there is one piece of information that can be crucial for local and rural agencies to consider for their future audits.

"Talk to their association groups. Ask them if they would like training. If they would like, those association groups need to invite us..."said Gallion, "Not everybody has association groups, so that's why we are also working on training material. We are working on trying to get that information out there. It takes time and it doesn't happen overnight...please contact the auditors office if you have any questions"

You can listen to the full interviews with Josh Gallion and multiple local agencies who called into the Jay Thomas Show by clicking the appropriate links below. You can read the Killdeer Area Ambulance Service audit report by clicking here.

Day One | Day Two

Original Air Date: 
Tuesday, February 21, 2023