Yost: Sharing ups efficiency

Auditor of State Dave Yost said public leaders had to be selfless and promote the possibility of shared services at the North Central Ohio Regional Council of Governments annual meeting Wednesday.

Yost began serving in 2011, and has since worked to create a leaner, more fiscally responsible government, he said.

With shared services, Yost said governments can run more efficiently, although individuals may be concerned about their job status if governments share services.

“Nobody wants to give up their job and they feel like ‘If we do shared services with three other people, what’s going to happen to me?’ And I understand that,” he said.

Yost said the importance of public service did not lie with the individual, but with community benefit.

“As we think about shared services or even merger, we should not allow ourselves to be threatened because the people’s business that we’re about is too important,” he said.

In addition to shared services, he spoke about the types of audits the department completes and how entities can benefit from other groups’ audits.

The department focuses on three types of audits: financial, special and performance audits.

Financial audits involve the audits of financial statements of about 5,800 governments in Ohio, while special audits are a “mystery” and often require forensic accounting to discover what was incorrect, Yost said. Financial audits also are designed to determine what occurred to come to a certain result.

The last type of audit is the performance audit, which affects shared services the most. He said it was designed to use analytical tools to help eliminate costs within government and make them more efficient.

He said many stories have been shared on the www.skinnyohio.org website, along with any other data they can share from performance audits.

Since data sets are expensive and finding data from other similar entities can be time-consuming, Yost said that information is posted on the website to help entities spend less on finding the information.

“One of the things that you can find is if there’s (an entity) that’s kind of like yours, and we’ve done a performance audit in the last couple years … that data is probably still reasonably usable,” he said.

Yost also said the department is looking into question costs, which are problems with money being spent within an entity. Question costs have been eliminated in the state government by 90 percent, Yost said.

“That means that your state government is running tighter and cleaner than it ever has,” he said.

He also spoke about the Ohio Stops Fraud application.

The iPhone app and website allow for a quick, easy way to report fraud within governmental agencies to the state auditor’s office.

For more information, visit www.fraudohio.com.

NCORcog Director John Davoli gave an overview of the accomplishments of the council of governments over the past year.

In addition to providing information regarding public records and the Transportation Coalition of North Central Ohio, the council of governments has applied for and received several grants, including the Safe Routes to Schools grant to create a school travel plan in Tiffin and the Local Government Innovation Fund grant for shared justice center study.

He also thanked Brewer-Garrett, Employee Benefits International, Public Performance Partners, Burgess and Niple and the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center for their involvement in the past year’s projects.