Frederick County selected CliftonLarsonAllen, a Minneapolis accounting firm, on Wednesday to conduct an audit to determine the impact the sheriff’s office’s involvement in the 287(g) program has on the county budget.
The main question the audit will answer is: How much did the 287(g) program cost the county in fiscal years 2015 through 2019?
The audit will examine both the “incremental costs” of the 287(g) program in that time, along with any reimbursements from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Incremental costs could include, but are not limited to:
- Hours spent training sheriff’s deputies under the 287(g) program.
- Any additional employees hired for the program.
- Travel costs associated with the program.
- Meeting costs associated with the program.
The 287(g) program allows ICE to train sheriff’s deputies to ask about the immigration status of anyone booked into the county’s adult detention center, and begin deportation proceedings if necessary.
Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, who attended Wednesday’s meeting, clarified the audit would not review the effectiveness of the 287(g) program.
Steven Darr, who has been chair of the county’s independent audit authority board for five years, agreed, saying that the audit would look only at costs. He said CliftonLarsonAllen has done previous audits for the county and was selected because of its expertise in finance-related issues.
“They’re totally capable of doing the work ... and it’s totally independent of the county. ... We’re not giving any more directive to the contractor than make sure you understand the program and then figure out what costs the county is incurring under the contract,” Darr said.
The county hopes to have a draft report from CliftonLarsonAllen by mid-December. The county will review the findings and then determine whether more work needs to be completed.
Chief Administrative Officer Rick Harcum said after Wednesday’s meeting that the audit will probably cost more than the originally estimated $10,000, as the scope of work has expanded from two to five fiscal years. As of Wednesday, the County Council budget will pay for the audit, he added.
Darr said the contract asks CliftonLarsonAllen to complete roughly 140 hours of work, but he declined to state the audit’s cost, as the task order hasn’t been completed yet.
County Councilman Steve McKay, a member of the county’s internal audit agency board, said he supports the audit and doesn’t expect significant costs.
“Honestly, I don’t expect this is going to be an alarming outcome. ... I expect the costs to be low,” McKay said.
Jenkins said after Wednesday’s meeting he’s not concerned about what CliftonLarsonAllen might find.
“I hate to say taxpayer money is going to be wasted. ... I’m not concerned whatsoever about the outcome of the audit,” Jenkins said. “I just stand by my initial assertion that it wasn’t needed.”