About Us

History

The Department of Examiners of Public Accounts was created in 1947 and placed under the direction of the Legislative Committee on Public Accounts. The title Examiner of Public Accounts had its origin in 1883, when the Alabama General Assembly, the forerunner of today's legislature, authorized the Governor to appoint an Examiner of Public Accounts.

Authority

The statutes which govern the Department's activities can be found in the Code of Alabama 1975, Sections 41-5-1 through 41-5-24. In interpreting statutes relating to auditing by the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, the Attorney General has upheld the Department's authority to audit the funds of various governmental agencies and offices. The Attorney General has also ruled that the Department's authority includes funds and the records of public corporations representing several county and or municipal governing boards. State courts have upheld the Department's authority to examine the records of private entities contracting with governmental agencies.

Legislative Committee on Public Accounts

The Department operates under the direction of a committee of the State Legislature known as the Legislative Committee on Public Accounts. The Committee has 12 members. The House of Representatives elects five members from its membership and the Senate elects five from its membership. By law the Lieutenant Governor is the Chairman of the committee and the Speaker of the House is Vice-Chairman. Once every seven years the Legislative Committee on Public Accounts appoints a Chief Examiner to manage and direct the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts. The present Chief Examiner was appointed October 1, 1982, and re-appointed October 1, 1989, October 1, 1996, October 1, 2003, and Oct. 1, 2010.

Responsibilities

The Department of Examiners of Public Accounts is empowered to audit the books, accounts, and records of all state and county offices, officers, bureaus, boards, commissions, corporations, departments, and agencies and to report on expenditures, contracts, or other audit findings found to be in violation of law. The Department has the authority to make audits of the accounts of all entities receiving or disbursing public funds. The Examiners of Public Accounts is empowered to conduct investigations as a result of audits and to assist other governmental officers such as the Attorney General, District Attorneys, and federal agencies, and to certify official acts and require the repayment of amounts of monies and other resources due to the State, County, municipality, or other governmental units from various public officers, their employees, or agents. Administrative hearings are held in an effort to recover monies that are found due in audits. If amounts due are not recovered the audits are certified to the Attorney General or District Attorney and presented to the next Grand Jury. They are prima facie evidence in court proceedings.

The Department operates from money appropriated to it by the Legislature.

 The Chief Examiner has the authority to issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of records in connection with audits. Each state and county officer must keep his books, records, and accounts, and make reports as prescribed by the Chief Examiner.

Types of Audits Performed

The majority of audit work performed by the Department consists of traditional financial and compliance audits, including Federal compliance. These audits focus on two areas: reliability and accuracy of financial statements; and compliance with laws, ordinances, regulations, and other requirements. In addition, the Department performs "operational audits" and sunset reviews that go beyond the traditional audits and address economy, efficiency and effectiveness of operations. Such audits have been developed because the performance of governmental entities is not generally measured by profit and cannot therefore be determined through analysis of financial transactions alone. Operational audits and sunset reviews are not normally comprehensive, but focus on particular aspects of operations.

Employment

For employment information, please refer to our Career Opportunities page.