Opinionated @ CFE

GOP Primary Endorsement: John Dougall for Auditor


You all know that guy at work. He comes in on time, leaves on time, does his work, but never really seems to stand out. He’s been in the same position for years, never really excelling, but also never really doing bad work either. He’s comfortable to a fault, not really willing to look at existing processes to see if they need to be shaken up, but mainly because he’s been there for so long that he’s dependent on them as a kind of security blanket. Unfortunately, I think current Auditor Auston Johnson is that guy. He’s not doing bad work (and I don’t mean to make personal insults), but he’s not really making the office of Auditor stand out all that much either. Unfortunately, his job (much like a county surveyor) is so dull that nobody thinks to ask “is this all this office could be doing?” John Dougall, however, is willing to ask that question.

Some people are concerned about him using the office in a biased fashion. Let me relate to you a personal story. I remember the first time I met him. It was way back in 2006, and I had just learned about UTOPIA. They weren’t able to build in unincorporated county areas, and I wanted to see if something could be done to change that. (I live in an unincorporated township.) I contacted then-Rep. Dougall (he was the head of the appropriate committee) and asked if I could have some time to speak about it. Despite not being on the agenda, he gave me time to speak. He even helped me clarify what my intention was in speaking. He did all of this despite disagreeing with UTOPIA’s existence. He gave me the fairest shake any legislator could have given some schmoe citizen who’s never been to a committee hearing in his life.

Since that time, I’ve watched John approach things in a very data-driven manner, always willing to hear things out and do his own research before proposing a course of action. Does he have a particular bent on his approaches? Absolutely. Everyone does even if they would talk themselves blue in the face trying to convince you otherwise. I have full confidence, however, that he will be fair and honest in everything he does, and he’ll inject some fresh new vigor into an office that seems to have found itself in a very comfortable rut. I hope you’ll join me in supporting John Dougall for Auditor.

12 Responses to GOP Primary Endorsement: John Dougall for Auditor

  1. I can’t support the sponsor of 2011’s HB477 as State Auditor.

    The auditor is supposed to be the guy uncovering bad activities in government…not someone who just last year wanted to cover it all up!

    • Right on. Dougall has no auditing/accounting experience. Its amazing that he even is running for this office. What is he going to do if he doesn’t know how to audit?

      • I don’t expect my manager to know everything about the products I support, just enough to know if I’m BSing them. John’s got an MBA and plenty of experience with going over raw data. He’s plenty qualified.

    • I’ve talked directly with legislators and Senate staff about HB477. I get why they did what they did and why they did it. I’d try to explain it, but I’m going to guess 1) you’re not interested and 2) I’d just get piled on. Not even worth the time.

      It’s also worth noting that we got something better out of it. John’s been one of those people agitating for better online records access for some time now. I’d have a hard time believing that his intention was to hide data.

      • Jesse,

        For the record, I’m a friendly critic of yours on this one. I know nothing about the sock puppetry taking place. I’ve had civil discourse with you on your blog for years and hope that I won’t be associated with any bad actors posting on this thread.

        I know you worked closely with many in the legislature in the aftermath of HB477. I agree with you that we did get something better out of all of that in the end.

        None of that changes the way this all took place. I disagreed with HB477 and the rationale used to support it but I understood the reasoning. My beef was with the way Rep. Dougall and our legislative leaders forced this bill through so quickly and then attempted ensure it couldn’t be undone. It was much worse than the typical sausage-making we are used to.

        Perhaps Dougall is an angel with the purest of motives…but I sure didn’t see that in the way all of this went down. I did see a lot of ass-covering and apologizing after the legislature saw that they had failed but it was more the sorrowing of the damned than anything that assured me that they were sincerely regretful. Dougall was a major part of all of this and I can’t trust someone like that as State Auditor.

        That’s all I’m on about…I don’t know enough to argue that his opponent is a spectacular auditor.

        • I know you’re above sock puppetry. Whoever it is that decided it’s a good idea, however… they’re pond scum.

          I did get an explanation for why the bill was rushed. Apparently the legislature had been working for years to close up the “fishing expedition” loophole that put big costs on taxpayers so that media organizations could try and find a juicy story. (In some examples, requests would require hundreds of hours of work or greater.) Additionally, lawyers would try the same tactics as a way to get free legal research. Their side is that every time they thought they’d gotten close to a workable solution with the stakeholders, they’d undermine it behind the scenes. It wasn’t very wise to act in haste out of a sense of supreme frustration at being dealt with in bad faith, but it’s at least understandable.

          FWIW, I’m going to guess that most media orgs wanted to work against preemptive online publication as well. They were probably perfectly happy being the information gatekeepers and feared citizen journalists bypassing or scooping them. Unfortunately, they’re the ones that have a big audience, so their side is usually the only one getting represented. It’s a losing situation all around.

  2. I will not be voting for him. After speaking with him at the convention, I have decided to vote for Auston Johnson.

  3. The Auditor’s office is a place that should remain independent from outside influence, which is something Dougall can’t do. He brings all the ideas, wants, and “I owe yous” from the legislature with him.

    It doesn’t matter what dougall has accomplished in the past, because none of it would help him being an auditor. He has no experience. He has no qualifications.

    It may not be required but having a CPA is a must in my book and Auston Johnson is the only one who can do that.

    • I’d give you a reply, but then I’d be replying to the same person multiple times. (Hint: I see your IP address, and I have a VERY low tolerance for sock puppetry. You were even sloppy enough to use the same email address on two of them. Give me a break and take your trolling elsewhere John/Sarah/Robert.)

  4. Dougall wont be getting my vote. He has mentioned things that are outside the scope of the State Auditor and that shows me that he doesn’t entirely understand what the State Auditor has the power to do. To me there doesn’t need to be a change if Utah is already one of the best financially managed states in the nation. From what I’ve seen coming out of that office they are doing their jobs.

  5. This seals it. I’m voting for John Dougall. I’ve been wrestling with this one for a while trying to decide who to vote for. I don’t think that Auston Johnson has done a bad job for us but I always consider the value of a fresh perspective when choosing who to back for any position.

    I know about CPA’s and auditing and I know that it doesn’t take a CPA to effectively oversee audits. On the other hand, I was not sure what drawbacks Dougall might bring with him from the legislature. The state auditor should be able to free himself from any cronyism in his decision making. Some people are able to do that even in the face of established relationships but I was not sure if Dougall was one of those.

    I had my grievances with HB477 but I have had enough experience with the legislative process and with many individual legislators over the years to understand how that happened. I really can’t hold it against virtually every state legislator that they got caught up in the whirlwind on that one.

    Thankfully I know Jesse well enough to trust his experience showing over the course of years that Dougall is capable of being impartial. That is enough to make this worth taking the chance of injecting new ideas in this government office.

    If Johnson is re-elected we will do fine. If Dougall is elected we might do better and very likely won’t do any worse. That’s a chance I am willing to take.

  6. Pingback: Where I Stand 2012: State Offices @ Opinionated @ CFE

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