Agencies threatened with budget cuts for repeat audit problems

Del. Guy Guzzone (By Howard County Library System on Flickr)

Del. Guy Guzzone (By Howard County Library System on Flickr)

By Sam Smith

Legislators hope to put more teeth into repeat audit findings of problems in state agencies. The Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Audit Committee agreed Tuesday to recommend that House and Senate budget committees and subcommittees consider cuts to administrative funding for agencies that have four or more repeat findings in consecutive audits.

The cuts would not affect programs run by agencies but would be strictly targeted toward administration. The committee hopes that its recommendations to the budget committees and Department of Legislative Services to include repeat audit findings in budget analyses will provide an enforcement tool for the Office of Legislative Audits.

The House chair of the Audit Committee, Del. Guy Guzzone, D-Howard, proposed the move at the previous hearing in mid-October.

“We had a discussion and there were a lot of ideas that were thrown around,” House chair, Guy Guzzone said. “I felt like there was general consensus on it.”

Committee recommendation was unanimous

When Guzzone recommended sending letters on Wednesday, the committee unanimously  agreed.

“They are going to make their own determination,” Guzzone said. “The recommendation is either accepted or rejected or modified. If the subcommittee feels that the recommendation dollar figure might be too much or too little, they can adjust that.”

Del. Gail Bates

Del. Gail Bates presents her bill that would allow the General Assembly to cut budgets of agencies with too many repeat audit findings.

Del. Gail Bates, R-Howard, suggested that letters also be sent to the Department of Legislative Services to ensure that repeat findings are included in its analyses of agency budgets. Bates was the lead sponsor of House Bill 843 earlier this year which called for cuts as high as 5% a year until auditors determine an agency has fixed its audit problems.

Guzzone says all that is needed is a procedure in place.

“It doesn’t need to be legislation,” he said. “It just needs to be a procedure established by the committees and DLS.”

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. Dale McNamee

    “It doesn’t need to be legislation,” he said. “It just needs to be a procedure established by the committees and DLS.” – Guy Guzzone.

    Isn’t it the fact that ” procedures ” are what caused this mess ?

    It’s about time that there are consequences for actions, especially for “administrators” of agencies… How about firing them as well as cutting funding ?

    • abby_adams

      No it’s easier just to pay it lip service since few taxpayers have any idea abt what’s really going on in the state agencies their taxes are funding. In the real world, how many “failures” in audits would be allowed before administrators would be dismissed? In Annapolis, they can hang around for YEARS!

      • Dale McNamee


        I agree with you ! And until the so-called “news media” does more than broadcast ” fluff ” ( a ” hopeless hope ” ) and an electorate that ” gets educated ” about state government ( another ” hopeless hope ” )…