A draft of an audit involving the well-known 287(g) program within the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office is expected to be finished next month, officials said Wednesday.
Representatives from CliftonLarsonAllen, the firm conducting the audit, updated members of the county’s Interagency Internal Audit Authority about work done so far.
The IIAA, a seven-member oversight board of the county’s internal audit division, is overseeing the audit as an independent body. The 287(g) program in the county sheriff’s office is a partnership between Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins’ (R) office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement allowing the latter to train sheriff’s deputies. Under the program, deputies can ask about the immigration status of anyone booked into the county’s adult detention center and begin deportation proceedings if necessary.
Tricia Griffis, director of the Interagency Internal Audit Division, told IIAA members that CliftonLarsonAllen representatives have begun fieldwork and interviewed members of the sheriff’s office involved in the 287(g) program.
Sean Walker, a principal with CliftonLarsonAllen, said he and colleagues have toured the county’s detention center, looked at travel expenses and reviewed other related costs to the program and is “99 percent” sure a draft report should be finished by the IIAA’s meeting next month.
Officials said Wednesday that the draft will not be available to the public until a final report is finished, probably in March. Then, county government officials will release the findings to the public.
The audit is looking at any incremental costs in the past five full fiscal years, along with July through September 2019, Griffis said. Walker said after the meeting that means he and others have looked at the sheriff’s office’s financial records to see if any costs have accrued on the county budget.
Walker added that even as a draft report is given to the IIAA, aspects of the report could change based on terminology used in it or other factors — and therefore, the draft will not be public. The procedure is typical under state auditing guidelines and was agreed upon by the county and CliftonLarsonAllen, Walker said.
“It’s considered an active work product until it’s released” as a final report, Walker said.
Walker said he and his colleagues started the work Oct. 22, when a task order was arranged between county officials and CliftonLarsonAllen. The holiday season and scheduling conflicts with high-level officials at his firm is why the audit is still ongoing, he said.
County officials announced the audit in August.
The audit is expected to cost $19,739, according to the contract between the county and CliftonLarsonAllen. Walker said his team should stay within that budget.
He estimated he or colleagues have visited the detention center half a dozen times, speaking with the sheriff and colleagues involved with the 287(g) program.
Councilman Steve McKay (R) asked Griffis what the next steps were after they received the draft report. Griffis said she, the IIAA, sheriff’s office, representatives from County Executive Jan Gardner’s (D) office and the County Council will review the report before completing it and releasing it to the public.
The county executive’s office and County Council will review the audit because those two bodies requested it, and the sheriff’s office gets the chance to review it ahead of time because that agency is the one being audited, officials said Wednesday.
Griffis noted that increasing the scope of the audit from two to five years has increased the audit time frame, but said that was beneficial because it provides more information.
“If we’re going to do it, let’s do it right,” he said.