published Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Tennessee DA's office to create audit panel

NASHVILLE — Nine years after Tennessee lawmakers required many state-created boards to establish audit committees, the central administrative office for Tennessee's 31 district attorneys general has finally agreed to obey the law.

In its response to the latest state comptroller's criticism on the issue, contained in an audit released Tuesday, the Office of Executive Director for the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference begrudgingly said it would establish the panel.

"We do not totally agree and do not see the need for an audit committee," the DAs' conference said in its response, which was included in the Comptroller's Division of State Audit report. "However, we will formally establish same."

Efforts to reach the conference's executive director, Wally Kirby, were unsuccessful. He is elected by the DAs' conference.

The office employs 28 people. Among its other duties, the office handles training and education for prosecutors and law enforcement, provides a child support coordinator who serves as a liaison between local DAs and the Department of Human Services, provides fiscal services for prosecutors in areas such as copy machine leases and information services for prosecutors as well. The office also lobbies the state Legislature and other state officials.

The lack of an audit committee at the DAs' Conference has long been a bugaboo for state auditors, who noted the issue has come up in previous audit reports.

The comptroller's office says the audit committee's duties include evaluating management's assessment of risk and the agency's internal control system, regularly and formally telling the board, management and staff about their responsibilities in preventing, detecting and reporting fraud, waste and abuse and facilitating any audits or investigations of the agency.

"We will see that this committee is active beginning July 1," the executive director's office said as part of its response.

In another finding, auditors found Kirby's office "did not maintain proper information systems security access controls and documentation" and was not following the information industry's "best practices" on the issue.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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