Members of the Tennessee Comptrollers’ Office say they had far fewer city and county audit findings in Fiscal Year 2017 than they did the previous fiscal year.
This has gone on for the past few years, said John Dunn, spokesman for the Tennessee Comptrollers’ Office.
“For example, in FY 2016, we had 383 audit findings spread across the 90 Tennessee counties that are directly audited by the Comptroller’s Office (an average of 4.26 per county),” Dunn said.
“In FY 2017 we had 338 findings in those same 90 counties (an average of 3.76 per county). The trend in declining audit findings has been consistent for several years in a row.”
Dunn told The Tennessee Star he and other Comptroller officials credit auditors and investigators for finding problems. But Dunn also said he credits programs such as MTAS’ Certified Municipal Finance Officer program and CTAS’ Certified County Finance Officer program, which help to develop competent finance officials in Tennessee’s cities and counties.
“Additionally, the legislature passed Public Chapter 112 in 2015 which required all local governments to establish and maintain internal controls to safeguard public funds and property,” Dunn said.
Tennessee Comptrollers still, however, do find examples of waste, fraud, and abuse in government, sometimes because of a government employee having sole access to taxpayer money. When that happens State Comptroller Justin Wilson often pressures local government officials to have better accountability and more checks and balances.
“While there are some cities and counties that have struggled to correct deficiencies and repeat audit findings, we are largely encouraged at the progress that has been made across Tennessee,” Dunn told The Star.
Recent examples of government waste, fraud, and abuse include a Jackson school official who Comptrollers say stole nearly $16,000 from the school system and used it for her own benefit.
In another recent example, Comptrollers said a board member for the Lewis County Soil Conservation District stole nearly $3,000.
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