Newly elected Auditor General Eugene DePasquale told the online news service Capitolwire that he plans to conduct a review of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s water testing procedures soon after he’s sworn into office in January.

“I do think there’s people who like the idea of an independent watchdog on the governor,” DePasquale said. “It wasn’t a completely overriding element of the campaign, but it was certainly something that was out there.”

DePasquale said the review would determine whether the staffing levels at the DEP are appropriate to regulate and monitor natural gas drilling and also would examine inspection and testing methods at regional offices for consistency.

Kevin Sunday, a spokesman for the DEP, said the department is budgeted for 202 oil and gas staff members. In 2011, the DEP’s oil and gas staff has conducted 10,099 inspections of Marcellus Shale sites, which were more than double the previous year’s inspections, the department said.

DePasquale also told Capitolwire that he would audit job training programs at the Department of Community and Economic Development to grade the programs for effectiveness and revise or eliminate programs that fail. Also, he plans to audit local school boards in order to identify wasteful spending.

— John L. Kennedy, for the Law Weekly