Comptroller Bill Runs Into Opposition

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, from 2005 to 2012, expanded the powers of the office. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A legislative proposal to rein in the state comptroller, an aggressive critic of Israeli governmental operations and the senior officials responsible for them, has run into opposition from some of the senior officials themselves, The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday.

The bill would restrict the comptroller to examining issues of proper governance, while putting an end to the many high-profile recommendations for correcting inefficiency and incompetence, as well as the reports following up on previous recommendations to ascertain whether they were implemented.

Zionist Camp MK Shelly Yacimovich, who chairs the Knesset State Control Committee, which oversees the comptroller, charged that the bill would, in effect, have abolished the office of comptroller.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu), Gila Gamliel (Likud) and Sofa Landver (Yisrael Beytenu) were all opposed, on the grounds that it would weaken an important check on government, and it appeared unlikely that there would be a majority in favor of passage.

Smotrich denied the bill was designed to weaken the comptroller, but merely to restore the parameters of the office before former comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss expanded its functions.

“The state comptroller is an important institution that plays a key role, but he is not supposed to be a decision-maker,” Smotrich said.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), who chairs the Ministerial Committee on Legislation decided to postpone voting for at least a month.

Joseph Shapira currently serves as state comptroller.