A ‘distinct honor’: County receives clean audit

Friday, December 22, 2017

Usually, when the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury mentions a government entity in a press release, it’s cause for concern.

This week, Marshall County was singled out by the office, which, among other duties, is responsible for yearly audits of government entities in the state, and it’s a cause for celebration.

Marshall County is one of eight counties recognized for what the comptroller calls a “distinctive honor,” a clean audit without any findings.

“Everybody did a really good job, and everyone should be proud,” said Director of Budgets and Accounts Malinda White.

In 2016, only 12 of the 95 county government audits performed by the comptroller’s office returned no findings.

Audit findings are problems found by the state auditors in either financial reporting or in maintaining procedures designed to keep government operating smoothly and transparently.

“A clean audit is a positive sign that a county government in on track,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson in the press release. “I commend all of the elected officials, leaders, and county staff who have committed to a well-run government. This is an accomplishment worth celebrating.”

Achieving a clean audit isn’t easy, as the low number of them each year shows.

“This is a group effort, all of the department heads and elected officials,” said White. “It’s a reflection on everybody.”

The county has worked hard over the last few years to get to this point.

White was hired in October of 2014. When the audit for the 2013-14 fiscal year, ending in June, was released there were 20 different findings.

The next year’s number dropped to seven findings, and last year’s audit only found one minor finding in two county offices.

White noted that the county and its officials had worked hard over that period to bring the numbers of findings down to zero.

The county has developed purchasing manuals, internal controls for each department, and developed a great deal of policy documentation aimed at making the county run better.

“Kudos to everyone,” said White.