Press Release

National Awards for Excellence in Government Auditing

Winners from Milwaukee, Topeka, and Philadelphia

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA (May 15, 2009) -- Gene L. Dodaro, chairman of the National Intergovernmental Audit Forum (NIAF) and Acting Comptroller General of the United States, presented the 2009 David M. Walker Excellence in Government Performance and Accountability Awards at an NIAF meeting in Arlington, Virginia. This is the second year in a row Dodaro, head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), has presented the Walker Awards, which are named for former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker. An NIAF committee selected this year's winners.

"Although they hail from accountability offices at various levels of government and different parts of the country, today's winners share a strong commitment to professionalism, integrity, and achievement. These men and women embody the values of improving government operations and holding federal agencies and programs accountable to policymakers and the American people," said Dodaro.

The Walker awards recognize local, state, and federal auditors for outstanding efforts to transform their own operations, improve government efficiency and effectiveness, and hold government entities accountable for results. This year's recipients are Jerome J. Heer, Director of Audits at the Milwaukee County Department of Audit; Barbara J. Hinton, the Legislative Post Auditor in Kansas; and Hugh M. Monaghan, Director of Non-Federal Audits for the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General.

— Jerome J. Heer, who has served as Director of Audits in Milwaukee since 1995, has nearly 30 years' experience conducting performance audits and is a nationally recognized leader in government accountability issues. He recently testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on how local governments can help oversee federal stimulus funds. In Milwaukee County, he has contributed leadership and expertise to help address complex, sometimes sensitive, policy issues. For example, Heer has served on the Milwaukee County Health Care Workgroup and the Pension Obligation Bond Workgroup, which together represent more than $400 million in local taxpayer commitments. He has also played a key role in a number of professional associations, serving as past chairman of the Midwestern Intergovernmental Audit Forum and a founding member and former president of the Association of Local Government Auditors.

— During a career in state government dating back more than 30 years, Barbara J. Hinton has earned a reputation for designing, conducting, and overseeing timely, high-quality performance audits for the Kansas legislature. Since becoming Post Auditor in 1991, her office has twice been awarded the Excellence in Evaluation Award from the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society. Hinton is known for collaborating inside and outside of government to advance the field of auditing. As chair of the National State Auditors Association's (NSAA) Performance Audit Committee, she led efforts to develop a series of best practices for a range of government activities. Between 1987 and 1989, she chaired the performance audit task force that developed the external quality control review system NSAA now uses to conduct peer reviews of state audit agencies. She has also worked as a professional consultant, peer reviewer, or concurring reviewer for a number of states. In addition, she has served as the long-term chair of the Mid-America Intergovernmental Audit Forum.

— Hugh M. Monaghan began his federal career in 1971 and has served as Director of Non-Federal Audits at the U.S. Department of Education since 2000. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he manages a network of staff in several cities, overseeing audit quality review, the provision of technical assistance and guidance, and the updating of audit guidance. Monaghan helped coordinate and lead the National Single Audit Sampling Project, which involved partnering with top officials at many federal departments and agencies as well as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The Project's recommendations have prompted major changes to auditing standards for single audits and are expected to significantly improve the quality of audits of state and local governments and not-for-profit groups. Established in 1973, the NIAF is an association of audit executives from all levels of government that seeks to address common problems; enhance government performance, transparency, and accountability; and build public trust.

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The Government Accountability Office, known as the investigative arm of Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. GAO also works to improve the performance of the federal government and ensure its accountability to the American people. The agency examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other data to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO's commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability.