Rhode Island’s chief auditor says he’s resigning because Gov. Lincoln Chafee eliminated the Bureau of Audits from his budget.
Chief Auditor H. Chris Der Vartanian and his team look out for government waste, even criminal fraud which recovers millions for taxpayers.
NBC 10’s Jim Taricani: “So it’s fair to say the internal auditor such as yourself is a watchdog for the citizens?”
Der Vartanian: “I consider that to be the case for us and proven over the years.”
Tarcani: “Now you won’t be?”
Der Vartanian: “No we won’t be.”
Der Vartanian’s team uncovered and recovered $13 million from an investigation into corruption at Rhode Island’s main landfill. It also recovered more than $75,000 in unemployment fraud at the Department of Labor and Training, and $75,000 of waste from contractors working for the state.
“The governor has suggested one of his platforms when he was running for governor (was) to eliminate corruption, fraud and mismanagement. On all of those things that we actually serve a purpose for, we actually look out for all of those interests. So the question is, why would he eliminate a structured, professional department that does that on a day-to-day basis?” Der Vartanian said.
The governor’s office said the Bureau of Audits will be moved into the Office of Management and Budget. The administration said the move would save $1.5 million.
But there are no positions for an internal auditor in the governor’s budget.
A Chafee spokeswoman said although the title of internal auditor is not listed in the budget, there will still be internal audits and more of them.
Der Vartanian said the state is losing an independent watchdog for the taxpayers.