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County Gets Approval for
Special Audits of the HCDC

By Keith Burton – GulfCoastNews.com              Filed 9/2/04

The State Attorney Generals Office has notified Harrison County Supervisors that special compliance and performance audits of the Harrison County Development Commission can be paid for by the county.

“Accordingly, the opinion of this office is that the Harrison County Board of Supervisors may contract with a private CPA firm to conduct a Performance and Compliance Audit of the Harrison County Development Commission, but only in so far as such Performance and Compliance Audit does not duplicate the audits performed by the Chancery Clerk,” reads the AG opinion.

The Chancery Clerk is technically the auditor of the county, however, the audits requested by the Board of Supervisors are not the same as that performed by the Chancery Clerk. The AG opinion notes that the Chancery Clerk "has the duty to conduct audits of the Harrison Development Commission."

The Board of Supervisors had sought an Attorney Generals Opinion to conduct the two types of audits last month to clarify whether county money could be used. Supervisors say the additional audits are needed to fully understand how the troubled development agency has used its funds. The supervisors received the AG opinion last week.

The HCDC has been widely criticized for how it has operated by county officials, former HCDC commissioners, private citizens, and the news media.

The commission is currently in search for a new director. Former Director Michael Olivier left July 1, to become Louisiana’s chief economic development official and this week, the acting director, Deputy Director Kim Compton, announced she was leaving for a new job. The HCDC’s marketing director Brynn Joachim also resigned in July.

The HCDC had come under fire for a variety of issues, including improper meetings, missing and destroyed financial records, and competing with the private sector in development projects.


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