The State Auditor`s office does not have original jurisdiction over most local governmental entities except school districts or counties with no county auditor. Therefore, the only way the State Auditor`s office can obtain jurisdiction to perform an audit in these areas is either through the petition process, or through a governor`s request.
Under Missouri law, the State Auditor`s office may be called on to audit any political subdivision of the state (such as cities, school districts, water districts) if enough qualified voters of that political subdivision request the auditor to conduct an audit. Section 29.230.2 RSMo, outlines the petition process. State law specifies the political subdivision audited through the petition process bears the actual cost of the audit. The number of signatures that must be obtained to start a petition audit are determined by a "sliding scale" based on the number of votes cast during the most recent gubernatorial election. The signer of any petition must be a registered voter residing within the political subdivision for which the petition is circulating.
When the State Auditor`s office receives a signed petition, it is forwarded to the local election authority to determine if sufficient signatures are valid. After the local election authority validates the minimum number of signatures required, and returns the petition to the State Auditor`s office, the petition is considered `active` and is scheduled. It may be a length of time, however, before audit staff begin the fieldwork portion of the audit.
Section 26.060 RSMo, outlines the authority of the governor and state law further states that the cost of the audit will come out of an auditing fund to be appropriated by the general assembly to be used by the governor for that purpose.