Overseeing public funds is a job entrusted to elected officials who are expected to demonstrate ethics, integrity and honesty.

For the most part, our public officials live up to that responsibility. But, there have been cases where taxpayer money has been improperly handled.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has taken up the matter with plans to reduce the abuses.

Since Zoeller took office in January 2009, his office has sought to collect more than $11 million in public money that had been misappropriated.

Indiana is forming a new coalition that will work to reduce public corruption by promoting the best practices for handling taxpayer money.

Zoeller said the Public Integrity Coalition will educate and train officials from counties, cities, towns, townships and other local government units.

Zoeller said this week that the coalition's goals will be to reduce access to public funds and cut the amount that's pilfered by corrupt officials.

"We may as well start with a bold mission, one that everyone can agree on - that we're going to try to reduce the access to funds and the misuse of it through greater training and protections," Zoeller said at a news conference at the Indiana Government Center.

Matt Greller of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns believes the vast majority of government officials are honest, but "those who stray" give the public an unfavorable view of government.

Former state deputy auditor Doris Anne Sadler is coordinating the coalition's formation. She says the coalition expects to have its first meeting in June.

The formation of the group and planned training sessions will eliminate the old excuse: "No one ever told me that it was wrong."