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Sand makes stop in Charles City

Sand makes stop in Charles City
Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand talks with Charles City residents last Thursday at Andres Park in Charles City. (Press photo James Grob.)
Sand makes stop in Charles City
Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand talks with Charles City residents last Thursday at Andres Park in Charles City. (Press photo James Grob.)
By James Grob,

Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand answered every question in great detail on Wednesday afternoon.

Every question, that is, except one.

“Are you planning on running for Iowa governor?”

Sand just shook his head, smiled a little and said that he wasn’t going to talk about that while he was on official business.

“Besides,” he added. “I haven’t decided.”

The questioner encouraged Sand to run.

“You have the recognition. You’re one who people know about,” she said. “I think you probably have the best chance of winning.”

“OK,” was all Sand said in reply.

Sand was at Andres Memorial Park in Charles City Wednesday afternoon, where about a dozen people showed up to listen to his report about the State Auditor’s office and ask him questions.

Sand, age 39, is a Democrat from Decorah, and has served as Iowa state auditor since 2019. He defeated Republican Mary Mosiman for the position in the 2018 election. Previously, he had served as assistant attorney general.

Sand talked about how things have changed since he’s taken the reins as Iowa state auditor.

“A lot of people who hold public office at the state, county and city level have complained that the state auditor’s office is a lot more aggressive now than it used to be,” he said. “I tell them, that’s good — we should be.”

He said he’s happy to make government bureaucrats uncomfortable and concerned, and he’s pleased when he hears that state agencies think twice now before they spend taxpayer money.

“Our job is to hold all the other government offices accountable, and that’s what we’ve been doing,” he said.

One of those present asked Sand a question concerning the economy during COVID-19.

“The pandemic has disrupted so much of what we do,” Sand said. “Global supply chains have been disrupted, work has been disrupted and we also have a child care crisis in our state. It’s a big problem with a lot of different causes.”

He said it was a mistake for the state of Iowa to reject federal funding, and that the state has done a poor job of distributing the COVID-19 funding it has received.

“When we reject money, we’re impoverishing Iowans,” Sand said. He said that less than 5% of federal rental assistance money Iowa has received has actually been distributed.

Another funding issue where Sand said that the state hasn’t done its part is with the public education system. He said that funding rates haven’t kept up with inflation, and that needs to be corrected.

“The state auditor’s office is asking tough questions, and we aren’t taking no for an answer,” Sand said. “People deserve to know what’s going on with their money.”

Sand also talked extensively about what he called a positive program his office has initiated. Sand said the Public Innovations and Efficiencies program, or “PIE,” is a way for state and local governments to promote and improve efficiency and communicate with the public about their efforts.

Sand said that through the auditor’s website, municipalities can see money-saving recommendations from other areas of the state and consider putting them to use in their own backyard.

“If someone came up with an idea to save taxpayer money, we want to spread it across the state” he said.

Sand said that local entities participating in PIE include Floyd County and the city of Nashua.

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