Legislative Wrap-Up, 0918 ALBJ, 79 The Alabama Lawyer 376 (2018)

PositionVol. 79 5 Pg. 376


Vol. 79 No. 5 Pg. 376

Alabama Bar Lawyer

September, 2018

The Department of Examiners of Public Accounts

The Department of Examiners of Public Accounts is one of the least appreciated, yet most critical, agencies in state government. It performs numerous functions that are essential to the honest and effective operation of the state. From ensuring that money is spent in a manner consistent with how the legislature appropriated it, to ensuring legal compliance of boards and agencies, to supporting the ferreting out of fraud, there is little daily government activity at any level in which the department does not have some oversight role or function.

The department was established in 1947 as part of the legislative branch. See Ala. Code §§ 41-5A-1 thru 41-5A-22. Prior to 1947, it existed as a division of the department of finance. In Alabama, the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts serves as the primary auditing agency and is the sister agency to other states' state auditor's offices. The department is overseen by a chief examiner, who is appointed to a five-year term by the Legislative Committee on Public Accounts and subject to confirmation by the senate.

From 1982 until June of this year, the chief examiner was Ron Jones. Ron was a true public servant who dedicated his professional life to serving the citizens of Alabama. On June 1, Rachel Laurie Riddle assumed that role. Rachel is a member of our state bar and is also the example of what a true public servant should be. Previously, Rachel served as deputy director and senate fiscal officer for the Legislative Fiscal Office, where she specialized in providing legal and financial advice to the Alabama Legislature in matters concentrated on government budgeting, financing structure and opportunities and other similar matters. Rachel deserves credit for most of the rest of this article, which serves as an overview of the operation and function of the department.


The Department of Examiners of Public Accounts touches all aspects of government and others' use of public funds. The department has the authority to examine and audit the books, accounts and records of all state and county offices, officers, bureaus, boards, commissioners, corporations, departments and other agencies, including the state's two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

The department may perform investigations...

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