Investigative Report

Comptroller calls for auditing reforms statewide

New Jersey's town halls and school boards have overly cozy financial and political ties to the auditors who monitor their spending, severely compromising the oversight designed to ensure billions of dollars in taxpayer money is spent properly, the state comptroller said yesterday.

"The independence and effectiveness of audits in New Jersey cannot be trusted unless changes are made," comptroller Matthew Boxer said at a Trenton news conference to release his office's first public report.

Boxer's report, based on 966 responses to a survey sent to the 1,900 government entities across the state, noted the Haddon Township Board of Education has had the same auditor reviewing its books for 61 years, and at least 389 government bodies have not changed auditors in more than a decade.