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Is This Some Sort Of Bad Joke?

By Greg L | 26 November 2012 | Prince William County | 7 Comments

A few years ago, Chairman Corey Stewart pushed for the establishment of an independent audit authority for Prince William County that reported directly to the Board of Supervisors, and in short order it uncovered millions of dollars in fraud and embezzlement within county government.  It was a brilliant move that significantly improved government operations in the county and protected taxpayer dollars.  Fast forward to November 2012, and firing all the personnel within that audit operation is on the consent agenda for the next board meeting, presumably at the request of County Executive Melissa Peacor.

My, how far we have fallen.  This is a circus, not a government.

UPDATE: In a nearly unanimous vote, the internal auditors have all been fired, and now an outside firm answering to Melissa Peacor will perform all audits.  Amazingly, only Frank Principi voted against this.



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7 Comments

  1. Really? said on 26 Nov 2012 at 10:28 pm:
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    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/pr-william-county-could-eliminate-internal-watchdog/2012/11/26/43e5df94-380f-11e2-b01f-5f55b193f58f_story.html?hpid=z5

    From the Post article posted earlier tonight (11-26-12), with the usual excellent reporting of Jeremy Borden….the highlights are surreal…

    #1 “County Executive Melissa S. Peacor said in an e-mail that officials have been working to overhaul the department for about a year, and that because the contractor would report to the board, it could independently audit county functions.

    “My office will not be in any chain of command of the audit function or in managing the contract or selecting the audit targets,” Peacor said. “So, yes, a contracted function can be independent.”

    Okay, so why is Peacor going to have nothing to do with answering questions about the audit function and vouching for it’s independence?!?

    #2 In reference to an audit about mismanagement of firefighter pensions, “The findings are not completely wrong. The findings are just incomplete in terms of the detail,” Stewart said of the audit, which deals with a pension program that pays small benefits to longtime volunteer firefighters.

    County officials familiar with the pension audit, who declined to be named because the audit has not been made public, said that it detailed the mismanagement of a $9 million pension program that has cost the county about $1 million a year more than intended.

    Okay, so the audit unit, that supposedly doesn’t function, found a $1 million dollars in excess costs, but it is “incomplete” so the whole unit will be disbanded??!!?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!

    #3 “Stewart said that Tuesday’s vote on the audit department should not come as a surprise. The board voted Sept. 25 to have McGladrey, the contractor, which had been working with the county auditors on a part-time basis, assess whether the department should be fully privatized.”

    Okay, so the outsiders who were contracted to do part time auditing for the county were asked whether all the auditing functions should be outsourced. Well, son-of-a-gun, they concluded that the audit functions should be given to an outside group. And OMG, that same company then was handed the contract! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? What a sham, farce, joke…does Stewart and Peacor truly, in their heart of hearts, believe this would go unnoticed? Really?

    #4 Borden’s excellent article ends with “Since then, Peacor said the county’s human resources incorporated the company’s findings into a report concluding that the audit department should be privatized.”

    Okay, so Peacor, who is not supposed to have anything to do with the audit function, has Human Resources, which reports to her, include in its report the conclusion that the audit department should be privatized? Again, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?! What a CIRCUS, indeed…. the arrogance and hubris is literally nauseating

  2. Anonymous said on 26 Nov 2012 at 10:50 pm:
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    A million dollar per year mistake is revealed, so Peacor dumps the audit unit that discovered it, brings in a nominally independent outside company who “decides” that auditing functions should be outsourced (yes, Ms. Peacor, is this report what you wanted?), and then that company is given the new auditing contract? Umm, sorry, Any University’s Intro Auditing students decided that maneuver is not nearly close to being generally acceptable accounting practice, and is a blatantly gross abuse of power.

  3. Anonymous said on 26 Nov 2012 at 11:01 pm:
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    Carryover funds could in past years just make all such million dollar mistakes disappear every year - a little money splashed between departments and functions, who will notice or complain? Well now those funds aren’t available to smooth out Melissa’s mistakes, and so auditors discover one of them - what to do? Fire the unit after a sham study by outside auditors, then ensure the outside auditors will be loyal by giving them the new contract. Then get Stewart to whisper sweet BS in Candland’s ear about how they are working together so well, and isn’t it swell, and here look, we can do this auditing clean up together. Candland, you got played by the Team that is running PWC. You got played.

  4. GAAP said on 26 Nov 2012 at 11:35 pm:
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    The Resolution clearly says that Peacor recommended the elimination of the county auditors. She is the County Exec and she wants contractors who are beholden to her for recommending that auditing go to an outside company.

  5. Just the Facts said on 27 Nov 2012 at 7:22 am:
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    Anonymous above referred to a million dollar mistake. The arithmetic error in the “unmet critical needs” tax money grab scam Peacor presented to Board not long ago was $1 billion – more than the County’s current annual budget. A former candidate who challenged Corey for the Chair last year found the error after it had made it all the way through all levels of the County government, and Peacor without being discovered. Regrettably, not a single member of the Board, to my knowledge, has said a word publicly about this gross incompetence coming from Peacor’s office.

    I recall when Corey created the office of the internal auditor and fought with Gerhart to make it independent and report directly to the Board rather than through the County Executive. Corey won that fight and did some really good work on behalf of the citizens and taxpayers of Prince William County. What has happened to cause him to cave to Peacor and eliminate this important check on the doings of the County Government and the County Executive that was once one of his major accomplishments?

    Having a third-party do audits does not have the same capacity to control malfeasance and misuse of funds, and to investigate whistle-blower reports as does a permanent, independent staff with the power to demand records and information all the way up to Peacor. McGladrey is a good firm and this is not a criticism of them. Eliminating the internal audit staff and going with any third-party for occasional or even annual audits is a disservice to the taxpayers of Prince William County.

  6. Anonynous said on 27 Nov 2012 at 7:16 pm:
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    Tom Jackman’s blog from the post is worth reading….this is truly an unbelievable situation. Stewart and Peacor think everyone is too dumb to notice the elephant in the room - that Peacor now runs the audits, the audits of the government she oversees….

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-state-of-nova/post/pr-william-board-poised-to-close-its-auditors-office/2012/11/27/3886e6bc-38d6-11e2-b01f-5f55b193f58f_blog.html

  7. Cynic said on 27 Nov 2012 at 7:52 pm:
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    Since the demise of the Hunter-Gatherer Society, Governments have always been corrupt. And, the Democratic versions are generally more corrupt than the Totalitarian versions.

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