Published: March 17, 2020
As all of Washington responds to the threat of COVID-19, I wanted to reach out to our partners in good government and let you know some steps the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) is taking related to our audits of state agencies and local governments.
Inside SAO, I have instructed staff to work remotely and practice social distancing to the maximum extent possible, as requested by Governor Inslee. While we have minimal staffing in our offices, almost all of our auditors and support staff are now working from home.
While social distancing is a powerful tool to slow the spread of coronavirus, it also affects our interactions with those of you outside the agency. We are working to conduct all meetings with audit clients either online or by phone. We are also exploring ways we can share more audit materials electronically.
However, in some cases in-person meetings still may be necessary. In those instances, I have directed my staff to follow the social distancing guidelines from SHRM, such as making meetings brief and holding them in large rooms.
We are committed to being partners with fellow public servants throughout this unprecedented situation. As new audits begin, our auditors will reach out to their audit liaisons to determine what steps make the most sense for continuing work and meeting our shared mission of government transparency.
I know this historic pandemic has placed new demands on government at all levels. And I know that closures of schools, libraries, restaurants and other public spaces has placed burdens on staff and their families.
Some state agencies and local governments have expressed concerns about meeting audit and financial filing deadlines established in statute. While my office does not have the power to waive these deadlines, we have been in contact with the Office of the Governor and other applicable regulatory offices regarding this subject. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep all governments advised of any updates.
Public agencies across the state are striving to balance the health and safety of their employees while continuing to provide vital public services and meet legal obligations. I value your collaboration as we all stand together as Washingtonians.