State Auditor Stacey Pickering Wins National Award for Excellence in Accountability

June 27, 2012

JACKSON- The National State Auditors Association (NSAA) honored State Auditor Stacey Pickering and the Office of the State Auditor with the 2012 Excellence in Accountability Award for a special project that showcased his comprehensive efforts to audit and monitor Mississippi’s portion of federal stimulus funds.

“ARRA in Mississippi: The State Auditor’s Unprecedented Approach to Accountability and Oversight” highlights the work done by the auditor’s office to ensure that over $700 million in federal stimulus dollars were properly spent.  This is the first time the State has been honored with such a national award recognizing Mississippi’s efforts in transparency and accountability.

“Even before the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, I realized the potential impact that such a large influx of federal dollars could have on the state,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “Receiving the Award of Excellence in Accountability is a tremendous honor for Mississippi and for the staff in the Auditor’s Office.”

By June 2009, the State Auditor published an assessment of State agency preparedness to handle the Stimulus funds, helped to modify several State laws to eliminate potential conflicts with new federal laws, and designed a training program that would eventually be used across the State for private sector, public sector and non-profits, to help them prepare for the influx of money and regulations.

By December 2009, the Auditor had awarded BKD, a national accounting firm a fixed price contract to conduct the audits, following the ARRA mandate to put the money back in the private sector.  The State Auditor’s Performance Audit division worked with BKD to design audits and monitor contract work.  In addition, the OSA staff provided Statewide training between August 2009 and May 2010 to more than 2,500 individuals from State and local government, school districts, private sector, and non-profits, to ensure entities had the information needed to properly handle the stimulus money.

Between February 2010 and December 2011, OSA’s project included 1,024 audits at 402 government and non-profit entities around the State, totaling 16,345 hours of audit work.  Audits showed a total of 934 findings, many attributed to newly required reporting and other new regulations as well as some related to poor documentation and Davis-Bacon wage requirement violations.

The Excellence in Accountability Awards are presented annually by NSAA to recognize government auditing excellence. There are four award categories – large performance audit, small performance audit, special project and forensic report.

To view a copy of the winning report, visit…on/winners.cfm