Mission and Strategic Goals Fiscal Year 2002
Our mission is to serve the citizens of Pohnpei by conducting independent audits that promote accountability, fiscal integrity, and openness in the State and Local Governments; and to assist the Government with timely recommendations to improve its operations and performance in terms of improving services, reducing costs and increasing customer and public satisfaction.
Our Strategic goals are:
Background on the Office of the Pohnpei State Auditor
Pohnpei State Public Law no. SL-1L-10-79 establishes the Office of the Pohnpei State Auditor. The law prescribes its powers and duties and authorizes appropriations. In addition, the Pohnpei Constitution Article 11, Section 8 requires the office to conduct audits of all the financial transactions and of all accounts kept by or for all departments, offices, and instrumentalities of the Government of Pohnpei and of the local governments.
The State Auditor
Section 8 of Article 11 of the Pohnpei State Constitution states that there shall be an Auditor appointed by the Governor with the approval of the Legislature by affirmative vote of the majority of the members, without regard to vacancies to serve for a term of four years and until his successor is appointed and confirmed. Within thirty days before the end of each four-year term, the Auditor may be removed by affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the Legislature, without regard to vacancies.
The salary of the Auditor shall be fixed by the Governor and shall not be diminished during the Auditor’s term of office.
Primary Duties and Responsibilities
The Auditor shall have the following primary duties and responsibilities:
Conduct post audits of all transactions and of all books and accounts kept by or for all departments, offices, and agencies of the State and its political subdivisions and all projects, programs, activities or organizations within the State receiving public funds. The post-audits and all examinations to discover evidence of any unauthorized, illegal, irregular, improper, or unsafe handling or expenditure of State funds, or other improper practice of financial administration shall be conducted at least once in every two years after the close of a fiscal year, and at such other time or times during the fiscal year as the Auditor shall deem necessary or as may be required by the Legislature or Governor for the purpose of certifying to the accuracy of all financial statements issued by the respective accounting officers and of determining the validity of expenditures of State or public funds.
In case the Auditor at any time discovers evidence of any unauthorized, illegal, irregular, improper, or unsafe handling of expenditure of Pohnpei’ s funds, or other improper practice of financial administration is contemplated but not consummated, in either case, he shall forthwith transmit the facts to the office being audited, the Speaker of the Legislature, the Governor, the Pohnpei Attorney General, the chief executive of the local government, and the presiding officer of the local council of the political subdivision concerned.
The Auditor may examine and inspect all books, records, files, papers and documents, and all financial affairs of every department, office agency, political subdivision, non-profit organization specified in Section 1 (3),
And he may by precept under his hand require all such persons as he may think fit appear personally before him at any time and place to be named in the precept, and to produce to him all such accounts, books, records, files, papers, and documents in the possession or control of such persons as shall appear to be necessary for the purpose of examination.
The Auditor may cause search to be made and extracts to be taken from any book, paper, or record in the custody of any public officer without paying any fee for the some; and every officer having the custody of the books, records, files, papers, and documents shall make such search and furnish such extracts as thereto requested.
Upon receipt of the examination report, the office being audited shall respond to said report in writing, to the Auditor and each of the officials listed in the Subsection (1), by indicating the action or actions immediately taken to correct such deficiencies cited as well as stated action or actions to be taken on deficiencies not immediately resolved. Thereafter, the office shall file a monthly report with the Auditor indicating its progress in clearing deficiencies until such time as it can report that all deficiencies have been cleared, which period shall not exceed six months.
The Auditor shall require the establishment of accounting systems that will ensure strict financial accountability.
The Auditor shall annually prepare the budget, which shall be submitted, to the Legislature through the Governor. The Governor may submit his comments, but he may not revise or reduce it.
There is authorized for appropriation from the General Fund of Pohnpei State Legislature a sum to be determined annually in the General Appropriations Act for support of the Office of the Pohnpei State Auditor.
The sum herein authorized for appropriation shall be administered and expended by the Auditor, solely for the purpose stated in Subsection (1) of this Section. The Auditor shall report to the Pohnpei State Legislature on or before October 15, each year, on all matters concerning the expenditure of the sum authorized for appropriation by this act. Any balance of the sum appropriated under the authorization of this act not expended or obligated for expenditure on September 30 each year, shall revert to the General Fund of the Pohnpei State Legislature.
Auditing Standards and Procedures
The Office of the Pohnpei State Auditor shall conduct all audits required for or sought by Pohnpei State Agencies in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. All audits shall be performed with the highest degree of professionalism and with strict avoidance of any degree of partisanship or bias. The Office of the Pohnpei State Auditor shall follow the Standards for Audit of Government Operations, Program, Activities, and Functions published from time to time by the United States General Accounting Office, including those standards issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Account. At the conclusion of an audit, the Public Auditor or a designee shall discuss the preliminary and proposed findings with the officials whose agency, grant, contract, or activity is subject to audit. The agency shall submit to the Public Auditor within 10 days (although an extension could be granted upon written request) after receipt of the list of audit findings, its written statement of explanation or rebuttal concerning any of the adverse or critical audit findings, including any corrective action to be taken to preclude a recurrence of any adverse findings. The Public Auditor shall promptly notify the agency involved as well as at the Coordinating Group in the event of an agency’s failure to respond or the filing of unresponsive answers to the adverse or critical audit findings. The Public Auditor shall publish the agency’s response as part of the final audit report.
The Auditor shall submit a report to the Legislature in January of each year of the audits and examinations conducted by him for the immediately preceding fiscal year, and at such other times as may be requested by the Legislature or Governor, together with findings and recommendations relative to the expenditures made and financial transactions had by the departments, offices and agencies of the State and its political subdivisions and audited non-profit organizations. Certified copies of all such audits and examinations made by the Auditor shall be sent to the Legislature, the Governor, the Attorney General, and the Chief of the State Division of Treasury and Finance. All reports thereon shall be available for public inspection. A certified copy of that portion of any report, which consists of audits, and examinations of departments, offices or agencies of a political subdivision shall be sent to the Town or Municipal Council of the political subdivision concerned.
In addition, the Auditor shall in his annual report to the Legislature make specific recommendations for the avoidance of audit irregularities in the future.
In the performance of his duties, the Auditor may employ the services of one or more certified public accountants or accounting firms, and such other assistants and clerical workers as may be necessary; PROVIDED the cost thereof shall not exceed such sums as may be available out of the appropriation provided by law for the conduct of his office; and PROVIDED FURTHER, that such accountants, firms and assistants are entirely independent of the departments, offices and agencies of the State and its political subdivisions whose affairs are subject to audit by the Auditor. In the establishment of the salary of each employee, the Auditor shall consult with the Division of Personnel and shall follow as closely as possible the recommendations of the Division. The Auditor and his/her full-time staff shall be entitled to participate in State Government employee benefit program privileges.