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State Auditor seeks to cover big funding gap, but corruption charges hang overhead

Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media

A state auditor now facing corruption and misuse of office charges is seeking a huge budget increase from the state.

All of Delaware’s various departments presented their budget requests for the upcoming 2023 fiscal year this month, as state budget officials prepare Gov. John Carney's recommended budget.

As in years past, the State Auditor’s office is seeking additional funding to cover the cost of completing important federal mandates.

State Auditor Kathy McGuiness says the state continues to fail to fully fund the three most important state audits, leaving around 1/3rd of the cost uncovered.

“Not completing it on time could jeopardize the federal funding Delaware receives each year, so there’s a lot of organization that goes into this,” McGuiness said.

McGuiness is asking for over a million dollars added to her department’s contractual budget to fully fund these audits.

State budget director Cerron Cade says the office isn’t doing enough to find alternative sources of funding first.

“We’re talking about federal grants,” said Cade. “Those federal grants have administrative dollars attached to them that are specifically for the purposes, in some cases of, the work that you do. So we wanna make sure that you guys are taking advantage of all those opportunities out there to generate revenue.”

It’s typical for state employees to first look at federal sources for funding their projects before going to lawmakers to seek more from the state’s coffers.

McGuiness also wants to transfer seven positions over to the state’s general fund, citing a decrease in her department’s appropriated special funds over the past 5 years.

And looming over the presentation were McGuiness’s criminal charges. She faces multiple felonies for alleged misconduct in office. During the virtual hearing, one member of the public posted a comment wondering how they can trust the auditor will use any extra funds responsibly, considering the charges.

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

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