Board debates $10K audit

Published 7:00 am Friday, June 24, 2016

At the June 21 meeting of the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors, County Administrator Adrian Lumpkin presented a letter from Board Attorney Joseph H. Montgomery to Attorney General Jim Hood concerning a potential audit of the Chancery Clerk’s office.

The letter to Hood, dated June 20, asks for an opinion on whether or not the Board has the authority to hire a CPA to perform an independent financial audit on records from the Chancery Clerk’s former administration.

The letter states that these are public records that “will ultimately also be [audited] by the State Auditor or State Audit Department.”

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The Board ultimately voted 3-2 to send the letter to Hood. Supervisors Donald Hart (District I), Farron Moeller (District IV) and Hudson Holliday (District III) voted to send Montgomery’s letter asking for a formal opinion from Hood.

Debate arose between District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry and Holliday over the issue.

The performance audit the Board proposes would cost about $10,000 to employ an independent CPA.

The letter drafted by Montgomery references several Miss. Codes of 1972 (Ann.)(sic) as well as two previous opinions from the Attorney General.

In Opinion No. 2007-00299 dated June 8, 2007, to Robert Latham, Esq. the office of the Attorney General gives Adams County the authority to contract with a certified public accountant for auditing services that have been deemed necessary in the best interest of the county.

The opinion also states that all of the books and financial records of the Circuit Clerk are public records and subject to inspection by any person.

Opinion No. 2004-0408 dated Aug. 23, 2004, to Joseph R. Meadows, Esq. ultimately grants the Harrison County Board of supervisors the right to contract with a private CPA firm to conduct a Performance and Compliance Audit of the county development commission, provided that the audit does not duplicate audits conducted by the Chancery Clerk.

Montgomery’s letter states that the above previous opinions and Miss. Codes establish that the Board can contract a CPA to conduct a performance audit, but is unclear whether the Board has the authority to hire a CPA to conduct financial audits of a former Chancery Clerk’s public records.

More information will be published as it is made available.

About Julia Arenstam

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