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Office of Good Government launches to aid communities with financial reporting

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Office of Good Government launches to aid communities with financial reporting

Mar 04, 2024 | 6:00 am ET
By Amy Dalrymple
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Office of Good Government launches to aid communities with financial reporting
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North Dakota Auditor Josh Gallion speaks during the NDGOP District 14 endorsing convention in Steele, N.D., on Feb. 18, 2024. (Michael Achterling/North Dakota Monitor)

The North Dakota State Auditor’s Office has established a new branch that aims to help local governments with financial reporting.

The Office of Good Government plans to provide education to small cities, park districts and other local governments on accounting-related questions.

State Auditor Josh Gallion said he hopes additional education for local officials about proper bank reconciliation and other financial reporting will prevent his office from having to issue audit findings.

“That’s going to solve so many of these problems,” Gallion said. “Or it’s going to identify them much sooner before something spirals out of control.”

Lawmakers during the 2023 session approved the Office of Good Government, which includes a full-time training and education coordinator. The education will be provided for free, primarily to local governments that receive less than $2 million in annual revenues. 

The trainer will answer technical questions, provide help on changes to accounting standards and offer training on completing financial reports.

Although the training coordinator is housed under the State Auditor’s Office, Gallion said the position will not be affiliated with an audit team.

“We are keeping that separation, that their focus is on the front end, the education, the training piece,” Gallion said.

Matt Gardner, executive director of the North Dakota League of Cities, said he views the new office as positive for cities. 

“Our cities need as much education and support as possible,” Gardner said. “We like education over a regulatory environment.”

During the last legislative session, some local government leaders complained about fees charged by the State Auditor’s Office. 

Lawmakers changed the threshold for when local governments need to undergo an audit. Now political subdivisions with annual revenues under $2 million will go through a small government review rather than an audit. Gallion said the review process still provides oversight but is more simplified and costs less. 

Training for local governments through the Office of Good Government is available by appointment by contacting [email protected] or calling 701-328-2241.