JASPER, Tenn. -- In order to stay current with a couple of essential programs, Marion County leaders have created an audit committee to review the county's yearly financial assessment.
Recently, the County Commission voted unanimously to form the committee, which will include four appointed members serving staggered terms. It approved County Mayor John Graham's recommendations for appointments to the panel.
John Moore, a certified public accountant; David Abbott, a banker; Gary Hooper, a businessman; and Commissioner Don Adkins, who is the board's finance committee chairman, will be the first to serve on it.
Graham said an audit committee is required by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board and for the county to remain in the state's Three-Star Program.
That program, a five-year plan, targets key issues the county is facing and is administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.
"The committee's duties are relatively small," Graham said. "They will meet and review the audit, and if they see something in the audit that they feel they need to bring to the attention of [the County Commission], they have the authority to do that."
Commissioner Tommy Thompson said he has been on the board for 28 years, and even though the audit committee's actions will not be binding, there has never been a need for it.
"We've never had this before," he said. "I hope this is not something that's going to cause us heartburn down the road. I'm a little reluctant starting a new anything anymore."
The audit committee won't have "any policing authority or any investigative authority," Graham said.
"I think they're going to be limited in their powers," he said. "I don't think there's anything in there that could really cause [the board] problems. It's just something we need to have in place."
Commissioner Louin Campbell said he thought having two county commissioners on the panel along with two county residents would be a better idea.
The state statute says the committee can include members of the county commission, Graham said, but it also needs to include people who have financial backgrounds.
"I wanted to try to get some people from different walks of life, so to speak," he said.
The audit committee will have the power to make a recommendation to the board after its review, officials said, but it is not required to do so.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.