Published 1:22 pm Monday, November 24, 2003
About elected accountability
Every time there is a discussion about the ills that have befallen the state, the word 'accountability' is used.
There is no accountability, everyone says. No one will ever do anything about it, it has always been this way, and will stay that way as long as there are politicians in politics.
The only thing they are interested in is getting our money and keeping it for themselves, and they are all the same.
Well, there may be a changing wind blowing through Montgomery.
That wind is in the form of Kay Ivey, the treasurer for the state.
Inside her first year in office, she has gone to the employees and asked them for ideas on how to make the office run more smoothly and efficiently while saving money. The employees came up with 17 specific steps that have saved $700,000 each year for the office. Some were as simple as eliminating autos that were unnecessary perks. Ivey also returned the auto the state leased for her, because the cost was too high.
The office of the treasurer has also undertaken the enormous task of following the money.
That means finding out from where every dollar comes to Montgomery, its source, then where it goes. This year the office has located the sources of year 2002's $13 billion – that is billion with a B – and will soon know where it all went.
Next up is 2003, which should be accounted for by the end of the first half of 2004.
Considering the size of the task, that is a pretty quick turnaround. Whether anyone without a Ph.D. in accounting or economics will be able to understand the reports this endeavor will generate remains to be seen, but the very concept is a huge step.
If the leaks are located, they may be plugged and the people will regain some control of a government that they feel removed from.
That will be another huge step, one toward the day where no one in the state will say 'It's all politics, what's the use?'