Gallion: 'Silos' provide some accountability

Jul 9, 2018

State auditor Josh Gallion appears before the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

State auditor Josh Gallion is raising concerns about one of Gov. Doug Burgum’s initiatives in “reinventing government.”

Burgum has talked about getting rid of “silos” in state government, and has also discussed state government working more as “one.”

Gallion raised the concern during a recent Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee meeting.

"I believe when used properly, silos create a small degree of separation, which can be used as an internal control," Gallion told the Committee. "It promotes transparency and accountability."

Gallion said eliminating those barriers puts more control in government, and transfers it away from the citizens.

In a subsequent interview, Gallion said when the state Constitution was written, it called for decentralized power.

"They did not want one centralized person with too much authority," Gallion said. "Our structure is to be siloed.  All the authority, and responsibility, is distributed to a number of statewide elected officials, accountable directly to the people."

Gallion said a possible consequence of not having silos was demonstrated in the audit of Burgum’s use of state airplanes. The auditor said in some cases, there wasn't proper documentation for Burgum's flights.

"We had actions in one organization that were not supported by any documentation, because that documentation was buried within anotehr organization (the Department of Transportation, which manages the planes)," Gallion said. "There should be a transaction, and we can then see what's going on."

Gallion said those documents are needed to show the public how its money is being spent.

Gallion said having “silos” does not mean state agencies can’t work together to find efficiencies. He said it comes down to accountability.