Hoffer: Illuzzi’s Record as Senate Chair Shows Failure to Record Committee Hearings for Public Review
BURLINGTON – Democratic candidate for State Auditor Doug Hoffer said today that he will increase transparency and accountability in the State Auditor’s office in contrast to his opponent whose record is not one of openness.
Hoffer noted that “for the last six years of Senator Illuzzi’s tenure as chairman of the Institutions Committee (1999 – 2004), there are only 12 recordings of committee hearings. In contrast, the Finance Committee produced 346 such recordings during the same period. Shockingly, only one CD was produced by Mr. Illuzzi’s committee for an entire biennium (2001 – 2002).”
Hoffer said, “Mr. Illuzzi’s committee was responsible for recommending the allocation of tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds. Where is the record of how those decisions were made and what does this tell us about how Mr. Illuzzi would behave as State Auditor?”
In response to Hoffer’s question about this issue during a debate, Mr. Illuzzi said, “that was the policy at the time.” In fact, there was no such “policy” as is evidenced by the record of the Finance Committee which recorded almost everything. As chairman of the Institutions Committee, it was entirely within Mr. Illuzzi’s discretion to record the meetings. He chose not to do so.
In addition, Mr. Illuzzi claimed that the discussions in the Institutions Committee were based in large part on reports submitted by various agencies and departments and that “unless you had the documents in front of you, you couldn’t make heads or tails out of” a recording. Hoffer responded that “While it is true that committees often deal with reports, most are posted on department websites. And if Mr. Illuzzi was genuinely concerned, he could have asked them to make sure the reports were made available electronically. Furthermore, the Finance Committee deals with mountains of paper but that didn’t stop them from recording their meetings.”
For his part, Hoffer promised to take steps to increase transparency and accountability in the Auditor’s office. For example, Hoffer said, “I intend to post the entire office budget online including information about contracts with outside contractors, as well as the contracts themselves. I plan to tell Vermonters the cost of every audit in order to weigh the costs and benefits. And I will post a list of current and planned audits and reviews, as well as their anticipated completion dates.”
According to Hoffer, “All of state government should be transparent, but the Auditor’s office has a special responsibility because of its charge. Vermonters deserve an Auditor who is committed to openness and I promise to do all I can to make that happen.”