Newspaper article News Sentinel

Four Interview for Knox County's Internal Auditing Job

Newspaper article News Sentinel

Four Interview for Knox County's Internal Auditing Job

Article excerpt

Three public accounting firms and the county's own internal auditing department Thursday made pitches to local leaders, detailing to them just how and why they should be selected to keep track of the county's financial transactions and potentially investigate how other offices spend money.

Members of the Audit Committee, which conducted the interviews, said they didn't have a problem with the work done by internal auditor Richard Walls and his staff, which currently provides the services. But they were required in late 2011 to take proposals for the external auditor that oversees the county's comprehensive annual financial report, so they might as well look into the in-house office, too, they said.

The internal audit department, which reports directly to the County Commission, currently operates on a $251,177 annual budget.

"We'll take the information that they gave us and evaluate the costs and benefits of going outside (the county) against staying and see if it makes sense," said committee Chairman Joe Carcello.

Committee members will score the candidates and then talk more about the interviews during next month's meeting. Soon after, they'll make a recommendation to county commissioners, who will have the final say.

The scores will focus on qualifications, audit methodology, cost and references. The three firms and Walls were each given roughly 40 minutes Thursday to discuss their proposals and answer questions.

Officials with Knoxville-based Pugh & Co., which serves as the county's external auditor, touted location as one reason they should win the bid. President Larry Elmore said the firm "is very convenient and accessible" and provides a "well-balanced (auditing) approach," because its client list includes more than just governments.

Atlanta-based KMPG, which held the county's external auditing contract for the maximum four years before it expired, also touted a strong client list, including Pilot Flying J and the Department of Energy. …

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