Elaine M. Howle
2023 Hall of Fame Inductee
When Elaine M. Howle earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts, a career in government auditing was not an obvious path for her future. An entry-level job with the State Auditor’s Office in 1983 launched her on a trajectory that would include nearly 40 years with the office and over 20 years as California’s top accountability official.
After working through the ranks of state government, Howle was appointed State Auditor in 2000, the first female to hold this office. Her time as state auditor was hallmarked by a reputation for accurate, unbiased and timely assessments of the state’s complex financial system and varied programs. So esteemed was the work conducted by her office that in 2012, the legislature increased her $17 million budget by almost $8 million, allowing her to hire 50 new auditors and expand efforts to proactively combat waste, fraud and abuse.
Howle was president of both NSAA and NASACT and has received every major accolade from each of these groups, including NSAA’s William R. Snodgrass Distinguished Leadership Award and several Excellence in Accountability awards for notable performance audits. She led her office and her peers during a time of great change and challenge for the nation and the accountability industry, spearheading initiatives that were viewed as a national model of excellence.
She was selected by Governing Magazine as a 2012 Public Official of the Year and received the national David M. Walker Excellence in Government Performance and Accountability Award that same year. She was honored by the IIA’s Center for Government Auditing as among 2014’s Most Influential Professionals in Government Auditing, and she received the AICPA’s Outstanding CPA in Government Career Contribution Award in 2022.
Retiring after a distinguished and rewarding career in December 2021, she accepted the role of special advisor for state, local, tribal and territorial oversight with the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.
Elaine Howle has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to eliminating fraud, waste and abuse. She continues leading today as a champion for improving government at all levels and as a model of integrity and professionalism.