Government Accountability (Oppose – Mandate)

Government Accountability (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/HB 11 (Metz) and CS/SB 354 (Stargel) require local governments to establish and maintain internal controls, and require municipalities to maintain specified budget documents on the government’s website for a designated time. The bills define “abuse,” “fraud” and “waste” to be used in the establishment and maintenance of the internal controls. The bills expand the definition of “local governments” to include tourist development councils and county tourism promotion agencies and expand the auditor general’s authority for audits to include those entities. The bills prohibit a board or commission from requiring an advance copy of testimony or comments from a member of the public as a precondition to being given the opportunity to be heard at a public meeting. The bills require an independent certified public accountant to determine whether the local government’s annual financial report is in agreement with the audited financial statements. If the report and statement are not in agreement, the accountant shall specify and explain the significant differences. If an audit report includes a recommendation that was included in a previous financial audit report but remains unaddressed, the governing body of the audited entity must indicate, during a regularly scheduled public meeting, the intended corrective action and explain its decision to not take corrective action. The bills change the composition of the audit committee to include at least one member of the governing body and prohibit city employees from serving on the committee. The bills also add additional requirements to the selection of an external auditor. The bills require certain public entities, including municipalities, to report public officer and employee travel information in the “statewide travel management system” which is to be required by the Department of Management Services. (Hughes)