Audit Blasts Nixon’s Use of State Planes

AP) – A state audit released Wednesday shows that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has continued to use money meant for other agencies to pay for expensive in-state flights and staffing, despite lawmakers’ efforts to stop the practice.
If Nixon had not pulled money from other departments and delayed payments to a later fiscal year, the Democrat’s office would have exceeded its roughly $6.6 million budget by $1.9 million over the past three years, the audit found.
“If the rest of state government ran that way, we would be in deep trouble,” Deputy Auditor Harry Otto said.
Nixon said he hadn’t seen the audit’s findings but added that he doesn’t plan to change the way his office operates.
“The bottom line is we’re going to continue to make sure that we call on the resources of other departments when we need them, and we share the talents and skills of those other departments,” Nixon said.
The report comes amid budget negotiations for next fiscal year by frustrated lawmakers, who have questioned Nixon’s use of a state plane to fly across Missouri and have attempted to rein in the budget for his office.
Since 2012, the budgets passed by legislators have included wording restricting most state agencies from paying for travel and personnel expenses for the governor’s office and other statewide elected officials.
But the audit shows that Nixon’s administration has continued to do so.
The audit notes that the Revenue, Elementary and Secondary Education, and Health and Senior Services departments were among 14 agencies that paid the salaries of six members of governor’s staff.
In a written response included in the audit, Nixon’s office said it accounts for the costs in a way that properly reflects the work that is performed. Still, those employees work out of the governor’s office and are supervised by Nixon’s personnel.

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