SAFE-house is a new feature that gives citizens the ability to provide the auditor’s office with information and submit documents electronically. State inspectors already provide the public with a telephone hotline to report allegations of misuse of taxpayer dollars, but the office has lacked several updated technologies.
Edelen says he ordered the overhaul of the website to help his office catch more claims of abuse.
“The old system we had was simply outdated and it relied upon phones and faxes. And what we need is a current system, one that is contemporary, one that uses all the tools of the modern era to make sure that the people of Kentucky who want to be citizen-auditors have technologies in place that enable them to play that role,” he says.
Since taking office, Edelen has made 10 recommendations to improve the state’s new Medicaid managed care program, issued a two-part statewide audit report and launched a special examination into the Department of Agriculture—which was called by Commissioner James Comer earlier this year.
The examination of state government, for instance, contained dozens of findings and noted more than $411,000 in questionable costs, including nine significant deficiencies in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, concerns with reporting time in the Kentucky State Police and improper fees incurred by the Department of Military Affairs.
Edelen says he wants to empower “citizen-auditors” and the website has been updated to be more user-friendly for the public, media and CPA firms that perform county audits.
“I have a vision for making the Kentucky auditor’s office the most aggressive, independent and modern taxpayer watchdog in the country. And I think implementing this new digital safe house and modernizing our website take us a long way down the road to meeting that goal,” he says.
The auditor’s office says it paid $930 to revamp the website rendered from the Office of Creative Services.