A citizen petition for an audit of the City of Salem was received today (July 22) according to Scott Holste, communications advisor with Missouri State Auditor's Office.

A petition audit is an audit of a political subdivision which is conducted at the request of registered voters who live within its boundaries, according to the auditor’s office. Upon receipt of a petition that includes the required number of valid signatures, the state auditor will begin the audit, and the local government entity being audited is responsible for the cost.

Chief petitioner for the audit request is Carol Strotkamp of Salem.

The auditor's office provides a petition signature form, which includes an estimate of the cost of the audit, as required by state law.

The petition circulating in Salem estimates the audit will cost $65,000 to $100,000, which would be paid by the City of Salem.

There is a 10-day window of opportunity for anyone who signed the petition to withdraw their signature, until July 31, according to Section 29.230.4, RSMo.

After July 31, a copy of the petition will be sent to the local election authority, Dent County Clerk’s office so signatures may be verified as registered resident voters.

If there is a sufficient number of valid signatures, the petition is considered "active" and the State Auditor's Office notifies the chief petitioner and the entity being audited. The petition information is added to the list of upcoming audits for future scheduling. If the signature requirements are not met, the petition is returned to the chief petitioner for additional signatures.

The State Auditor’s Office meets with the governing body of the entity being audited in a meeting to explain the audit process and answer questions. This meeting is open to the public. Auditors then enter the fieldwork phase, which includes gathering records and information. Once the report is drafted, a copy is shared with the governing body in a closed meeting to discuss the report findings and begin the process of obtaining responses from the entity. Those responses are included in the final audit report.