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