Auditor talks leadership, values

By Caroline Griffeth

The Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts urged students and professors to maintain accountability and responsibility throughout their careers.

Crit Luallen was the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration’s first guest in a series called “Leader Free Advice On How To Get Your Ex Boyfriend Back After A Big Fight s in Public Policy” Wednesday night.

Luallen has been Kentucky’s State Budget Director, Secretary of Finance and Administration Cabinet and is in her second term as Auditor of Public Accounts.  She has uncovered millions of dollars in fraud and has suggested ways to make Kentucky’s government more efficient.

Luallen kicked off the evening by promising it wouldn’t be a class of “auditing 101.”  She discussed her leadership roles and how big of a part integrity and responsibility played.  She said that her role as a public official really made her understand the responsibilities of a leader.

According to Luallen, who said she has learned as much about why leaders fail as why they succeed, leaders in any organization must have the same qualities.  A leader must have strong personal values, make principal leadership decisions, have a strong moral compass and must show integrity in all decisions.  Leaders must have core values that cannot be taught in school.  They must stay true to those values, especially in auditing.

Luallen said she is not proud of the fact that the auditor’s office has uncovered so much corruption.  Recent audits of the Bluegrass Airport and Passport Health Plan, an agency that is a managed care provider of Medicaid, have found excessive and unnecessary spending.   Luallen says that because of these cases of corruption, there must be watchdogs to break the cycle.

Luallen believes that there should be more transparency and accountability in organizations to gain public trust.  The human character is fallible and there must be oversight and control to maintain individual leaders’ integrity.  Through state audits that have uncovered corruption, Luallen believes the bar for accountability has been raised.

Luallen said that she has learned three lessons throughout her time as a public leader that apply to all areas of life.  She said to never underestimate the lengths that those lacking a moral compass will go to, to be aware of your surroundings and look for red flags and always be bold and ask questions.

To overcome the challenges that Kentucky faces, there must be a long-term commitment made by all officials.  Currently, Kentucky has the fifth highest poverty rate in the nation, leads the country with deaths in child abuse and has more citizens on Medicaid than in public school systems.

Luallen said that every individual in an organization has a responsibility to do their job to their best ability.

“We can’t let the crisis of the moment deter us from our long-term commitment.  These are the times that demand accountability from leaders.”

Luallen also said that Kentucky will not overcome any challenges without an engaged citizenship that makes educated decisions.

“The next generation needs to step up into leadership.  We must demand that they step up.”

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