Q1: Should the work of a State Government be performed by a State Employee?
Q2: As an elected official, how would you approve the overall safety of state employees?
A: One of the first audits conducted after I took office was the Workers’ Comp safety program at the Office of Risk Management (Agency of Administration). We found a number of problems and made recommendations intended to help improve workplace safety. In my view, the decision to outsource that function is not advisable. http://auditor.vermont.gov/audits/performance (scroll to 2013).
Q3: What is your plan to make the health care system more fair and equitable for working Vermonters?
A: As State Auditor, I am not a policymaker per se. However, our work can help inform the discourse. Our primary responsibility is more about implementation than policy. That is, we examine whether the systems designed by policymakers are effective and efficient.
Q4: Will you support collective bargaining and vote against “Right to Work” legislation in any form?
A: Again, as State Auditor, I don’t get to vote in the legislature.
Q5: What do you see as the role of State employees and how would you support them in their role?
A: As it relates to my job, I see State employees as valuable sources of information about the workings of state government. That is why I asked the legislature to create a special exemption in the public records law that allows me to protect information that would identify a whistleblower.
Q6: What mechanisms would you put in place to avoid budget shortfalls?
A: See #4. As a practical matter, the work of my office can help identify savings in state government. To the extent our recommendations are implemented, it reduces pressure on departmental budgets.
Q7: What approach would you take to make higher education more affordable for Vermonters?
A: See #4.
Q8: What would you do to ensure the viability of the state college system?
A: See #4.
Q9: Do you support a livable wage for Vermonters? If so, what do you think that amount should be?
A: Yes. As the author of the Job Gap Study, I think the methodology used by the Joint Fiscal Office is basically sound.
Q10: Briefly state why the VSEA should endorse you and describe the type of assistance that you would be seeking from a VSEA endorsement.
A: In my three and a half years I office I have tried very hard to treat the work as non-partisan. Our performance audits provide objective analysis and recommendations to: 1) help program managers improve service delivery; 2) help legislators make better inform decisions about resource allocation; and 3) help the general public learn whether taxpayer funds are being used effectively. I’m proud of the work we’ve done and would to continue.
If possible, a financial contribution would be most welcome, along with efforts to encourage electoral support from your members.