Candidate Interview Summary- Beth Wood, NC Auditor

Interview questions were developed by a Vetting Committee of 10 members of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association. All candidates for a particular office were asked the same questions. Interviews were conducted by 3 rotating members of the Vetting Committee. Summaries are the agreed-upon consensus of each 3-member group. Candidates were asked to interview in-person, but phone interviews were offered for candidates living outside Craven County if schedules would not allow travel.

Beth Wood, Candidate NC Auditor

Interview Date: October 3, 2016
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Interviewed: In-Person
                                                   1. Connie Hannah
                                                   2. Brad Cummings
                                                   3. Hal James
 1)  Name:   Beth A. Wood
Phone: 919-449-7733
      Address: PO Box 20915, Raleigh, NC 27619
2)    Educational Background
Associate degree from Wayne County Community College.
Bachelor of Science in accounting from East Carolina University.
Certified Public Accountant.

Presently State Auditor.  My job is to audit state, county and city government agencies. I have audited the city of New Bern and the counties of Craven and Lenoir. I have worked 10 years in the State Auditor’s office. I have also taught auditing to state agencies and to CPA’s across the country.
Demonstrations of Leadership

In my 10 years in the state auditor’s office, I have completely changed the culture and made it more professional through teaching my people and others how to audit and how to make budgets that are viable and real.
3)    Memberships and Associations
American Institute of CPA’s
North Carolina Association of CPA’s
Government Finance Officers Association
4)    Why are you running for this office?
I am running for another term because there is a lot of work left to do. To this point, I have concentrated on discretionary audits looking for waste in (general) agency spending, federal grants, community colleges, and clerks of courts seeing to it that my audits are timely and thoroughly done. I want to expand on this and identify even more wasteful spending (that is presently slipping through the cracks).

I am especially concerned about poor contracting practices by the state of North Carolina. I am also concerned about the inadequate computer systems used in the administration of Medicaid.

5)    What is the organizational structure of your campaign, fund raising capability, etc.?
My campaign organization consists of myself, a media person, and a fund raiser.  Like my office, which has both Republicans and Democrats, I raise my funds in a non-partisan manner.
6)    Which of the Founding Fathers do you most admire?
I have never studied any of our Founding Fathers in depth (enough) to say which I most admire.
7)    Margaret Thatcher once said, “Consensus is a lack of leadership.” Do you agree?
I disagree!  In my own organization (for example), when I tell people what to do, that is not good leadership.  When I show them the right thing to do, I am more likely to get their “buy-in.”  It is not a democracy, but by using this method, I have developed a well trained and proud staff.
8)    Which President do you most admire?
I have never studied any of our Presidents.  There are blemishes on all of them.
9)   Do you believe the Founding Fathers intended the Constitution to be:
     a. An evolving document whose meaning changes with time?
      b. A permanent set of rules to limit the power of the federal        government?

             I believe the Constitution is a permanent set of rules that
hold as true today as when they were first  written.
10) Where do individual rights come from?

Individual rights come from our Constitution.

11) Discuss an ethical dilemma you faced. What happened? How did you resolve it?

I ran on a platform that I would run a non-partisan office. We would go after the truth wherever we found it without regard to which side of the isle it fell on.  During my first 6 months in office, my staff called on an agency head to inform that agency that we would be conducting an audit of the agency. The agency head was uncooperative and rude, and referred my auditors to an office 4 layers down.

I got a call from the Governor suggesting that I change how I do business. I was upset.  Did I want every Democrat in Raleigh mad at me?

      Here is how I resolved this situation:

I audited that agency myself personally.  I was polite, but firm.  I did not back down.  And I did not hear from the Governor again.
10) Where do individual rights come from?
Individual rights come from our Constitution.
11) What do you know about Common Core?
I don’t know enough about Common Core to have an opinion. I audit the Department of Public Instruction, but don’t get into policy matters.
 12) What is your opinion on gun ownership, registration, and gun free zones?
I grew up on a farm, so we had guns, and I believe we have a right to own guns. I don’t agree that they should be registered.  But I don’t understand people having guns that shoot 100 rounds a minute.  I support background checks.
13) What does the phrase “Separation of Church and State” mean to you?
The phrase,”separation of church and state” means that the state handles state business, but doesn’t cross over into how to worship or what to believe.
14) If elected, what would be your number one priority item during your term in office?
If re-elected, my number one priority will be to put together a team to concentrate on Medicaid, which always seems to cost more than budgeted and now amounts to roughly $4 billion of the State’s $22 billion annual budget.

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