Special funds have again called into question the fiscal health of a California government. Last year, revelations about a State Parks secret fund created a state-level scandal. Now, in Los Angeles, the discovery of $43 million in extra money at the Department of Transportation has highlighted the challenges of complex budgeting.

Los Angeles currently has between 600 and 700 special funds providing money to projects and departments. Many of the funds are monitored only through an honor system, but keeping an accurate measure on how much is spent and how much is saved can be daunting. After some abnormalities were discovered in the DOT accounts, auditors sifted through 11,000 documents as part of their forensic accounting effort.

City Controllers have long complained about the number of special funds and their lack of thorough review. As early as 2008, there was a call for quarterly reviews of all funds. Current Controller Wendy Greuel has also expressed concern about the funds and has undertaken audits of more than 600 funds.

Read the full article at KPCC.com.