The purpose of this article is to provide for the more expeditious and efficient study and management of the financial problems which at each session confront the Legislature, and to provide a tighter and more economical control by the Legislature over the revenues and expenditures of the state.
For the purposes of this article: "Committee" means the Joint Committee on Government and Finance of the Senate and House of Delegates.
"Full performance evaluation" means to determine for an agency whether or not the agency is operating in an efficient and effective manner and to determine whether or not there is a demonstrable need for the continuation of the agency, pursuant to the provisions of section ten, article ten of this chapter.
"Post audit" is the audit or review of governmental finances after they have been completed. The scope of a post audit includes audit or review of transactions pertaining to the financial operations of the various agencies of government on the state level, with verification of state revenues at the source and audit of expenditures all the way through the work to the recipient or beneficiary of the service.
"Preliminary performance review" means to determine for an agency whether or not the agency is performing in an efficient and effective manner and to determine whether or not there is a demonstrable need for the continuation of the agency pursuant to the provisions of section eleven, article ten of this chapter.
"Spending unit" means any department, agency, board, commission, officer, authority, subdivision or institution of the state government for or to which an appropriation has been made, or is to be made by the Legislature.
There is hereby created the position of Legislative Auditor who shall be appointed by the committee to serve at its will and pleasure. He shall be solely responsible to the Legislature.
(a) It is the duty of the Legislative Auditor to compile fiscal information for the Senate and the House of Delegates, to make a continuous audit and analysis of the state budget, revenues and expenditures, during and between sessions of the Legislature, to make post audits of the revenues and expenditures of the spending units of the state government, at least once every two years, if practicable, to report any misapplication of state funds or erroneous, extravagant or unlawful expenditures by any spending unit, to ascertain facts and to make recommendations to the Legislature concerning post-audit findings, the revenues and expenditures of the state and of the organization and functions of the state and its spending units.
(b) The Legislative Auditor may collect, and the department, agency or board shall pay, any or all of the costs associated with conducting the post audits from the department, agency or board being audited, when necessary and desirable. The Legislative Auditor shall render to the department, agency or board liable for the costs a statement of the costs as soon after the costs were incurred as practicable, and it is the duty of the department, agency or board to pay promptly in the manner that other claims and accounts are paid. All money received by the Legislative Auditor from this source shall be expended only for the purpose of covering the costs associated with such services, unless otherwise directed by the Legislature.
(c) A copy of each report of audit when completed and certified shall be filed in the office of the department of finance and administration as a public record and a copy shall be filed with the Attorney General for any action he or she may consider necessary.
The Legislative Auditor shall have the power and authority to examine the revenues, expenditures and performance of every spending unit of the state government and for these purposes shall have the authority, by such means as are necessary, to require any person holding office in the state government or employed by the state, to allow him to inspect the properties, equipment, facilities and records of the various agencies, departments, subdivisions or institutions of the state government for which appropriations are to be made or have been made, either before or after estimates therefor are submitted, and before, during and after the sessions of the Legislature. Refusal of any person to allow such inspection shall be reported by the Legislative Auditor to the committee.
The Legislative Auditor shall prepare an appropriate budget for each spending unit, for each biennium for which appropriations are sought, in such form and with such itemization and other information as the committee shall prescribe, at least thirty days prior to any legislative session, and submit the same to the committee with the appropriate recommendations, together with such other findings and reports deemed necessary or required by the committee. He shall also report to the committee any misapplication of state funds and any erroneous, extravagant or unlawful expenditures by any spending unit, together with such other findings and reports as the committee shall require.
As compensation for his services the Legislative Auditor shall receive a sum to be fixed by the committee. He shall receive, in addition, the necessary traveling expenses incident to the performance of his duties.
The Legislative Auditor may appoint or employ such assistants or employees as may be necessary for the efficient discharge of his duties. Appointees and employees shall serve during his will and pleasure. The number and compensation of such assistants or employees shall be fixed by the committee.
The office of the Legislative Auditor shall be located at the state Capitol and shall be open at all reasonable times for the transaction of business.
All state departments, institutions or other agencies of the state government shall provide necessary comfortable space for the purpose of occupancy by employees of the office of the Legislative Auditor conducting post audits, full performance evaluations or preliminary performance reviews in the various departments, institutions or other agencies of the state, located conveniently at the state Capitol and at the several institutions or other agencies throughout the state.
All compensation and expenses of the Legislative Auditor and his assistants and employees shall be paid out of the funds of the committee, or out of such other appropriations as may be made by the Legislature therefor.
Whenever any statute of the state refers to an officer or agency of the state whose functions and duties are by this article transferred to another officer or agency of the state, the reference shall be understood to be made to the officer or agency, as the case may be, to which the functions and duties have been transferred.
If any provision hereof or the application thereof to any person, department or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidation shall not affect other provisions or applications of this article which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this article are declared to be severable.