PRESCOTT - Gov. Janet Napolitano said she intends to ignore the recommendations by the state auditor general that claim some functions of the Department of Commerce can be eliminated.
"The audit did not comprehend the role that the Department of Commerce plays, particularly for rural communities that don’t have their own economic development offices," the governor said.
Napolitano, in Prescott on Thursday for the annual Rural Development Conference, said that meeting, organized in partnership with the Commerce Department, shows why the agency is important.
"The Department of Commerce becomes kind of a pivot point to help the smaller towns and cities of Arizona keep and attract jobs," she said.
Napolitano said she is willing to look at any suggestions to make that agency — or any other — more efficient.
"We’re always looking for ways to improve ourselves," she said. "But I thought the audit kind of missed the boat."
The report, issued a week ago, says four functions of the agency should be eliminated.
Auditor General Debbie Davenport said the smallbusiness services division is unnecessary because the federal Small Business Administration already does that work in Arizona. Davenport said the SBA provides oneon-one counseling, something the state does not do.
Davenport also said there was no reason for the agency to have its own employees doing research, saying other private and public groups already gather such data.
She also saw no need for the role the department plays in helping cities and counties with development plans, nor for its apprenticeship services.
The report said four other functions, including the promotion of Arizona and its products and services overseas, could be eliminated or revamped.