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Maryland Politics
Posted at 06:21 PM ET, 02/10/2012

Montgomery County officials release internal audits

Responding to a clash with Montgomery legislators last week, the county’s executive branch has published nearly all its recent internal audits online, county officials announced this week.

Last week, County Council members butted heads with the executive branch over how transparent it is, after they learned that two reports from the Office of Internal Audit, which serves County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), were not given to them or widely disseminated to the public.

One of the reports involved problems the county had with monitoring where its construction funding was going, and the other involved an investigation into the county transportation department’s revenue processing center. Both reports were completed months ago.

Many reports from the internal audit’s office are public, but county officials have said they would release them only through a Maryland Public Information Act request. Some reports were withheld because they could pose a security risk, the officials said.

County legislators said last week that they wanted to receive individual copies of the reports, and that the public should have greater access to the reports.

Responding to these requests, Leggett officials have created a new Web site that includes reports dating to September 2009.

Still, at least one report has not been posted online. County officials have not yet released a report that was completed last November and focused on errors in calculating the salaries of correctional officers.

The audit, which was commissioned jointly by county officials and the government union Municipal and County Government Employees Organization, was labeled “confidential” on its cover sheet. The report was released to The Washington Post through an MPIA request.

According to the report, the union raised issue with how the correctional officers are paid. The report found some errors, and noted that county officials were in the process of fixing them.

Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Fariba Kassiri said she did not believe that the report should be withheld from the public. But she added that discrepancies were found in the data after the original report’s publication. Now, county officials are working to correct the data and possibly have it independently vetted. Kassiri said when a new report is issued, with the corrected information, it will be posted online.

The county currently is working on its union contracts, which are expected to be completed by the end of the month.

By  |  06:21 PM ET, 02/10/2012

 
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