State Auditor Kyle Doesn’t Enjoy Playing the Bad Guy
By Scott Dyer
BATON ROUGE, La. — The motto hanging in Louisiana Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle’s office sums up his no-nonsense attitude: “In God We Trust — All Others, We Audit.”
Auditing state agencies for nearly 12 years in a state known for political corruption, Kyle’s audits have uncovered embezzlers, brother-in-law deals and political kickbacks. One recent audit prompted prosecutors to indict the state commissioner of elections, Jerry Fowler, for allegedly taking kickbacks from voting-machine contractors.
On the higher education front, Kyle’s audits have cost several college presidents their jobs. A former college professor himself, Kyle says he feels bad about that.
“I really don’t want to become known as a slayer of chancellors,” he jokes. On a more serious note, he adds that he personally thinks it’s unfair to fire a campus head over an audit.
“I don’t think that financial issues are all there is to that job ¾ it’s multi-faceted, and they should not use that as the sole criteria for removing any college president,” Kyle says.
Before he became the state’s legislative auditor, Kyle taught at Louisiana State University.
“I was a professor, teaching governmental accounting and auditing, and I had been looking at this office for a long time,” Kyle says.
He says his recent audit of Grambling State University was the worst he has issued in nearly 12 years on the job. The historically Black university’s books were too sloppy to audit, and Kyle says his auditors also wound up questioning the school’s management.
“In our audit work, we rely on management to provide us with accurate and complete information. In this case, we did not get that,” Kyle says. “We went up there and asked if there was anything we needed to know about, and they didn’t tell us that they had four months of data totally missing that they could not restore — and we were doing a two-year audit, so we thought that was significant.”
Grambling’s president, Dr. Steve Favors, blames the problem on the untimely loss of some key financial people at the university, including one who left to help clean up the financial mess at Baton Rouge Community College.
Kyle acknowledges that Grambling has a history of audit problems, but says when he last audited Grambling’s books two years ago — shortly before Favors’ arrival —everything was in order.
“Two years ago, we audited them, and they had resolved all of their problems, and we gave them the best audit that you can give anyone,” Kyle says.
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