Frederick County has participated in the 287(g) immigration enforcement program since 2008. Recently, citizens opposed to the policies in Washington and politically opposed to our locally elected sheriff have taken issue with the program and are committed to attacking Sheriff Jenkins. In response, the county executive and County Council members met behind closed doors and determined to conduct an audit of the Frederick County participation in this program. There has been little detail about what is being audited or how broad the scope of the audit might be. There has been no conversation that there are indications of waste, fraud or abuse — the essential criteria used to trigger an audit.
Not all audits are the same, however.
The Interagency Internal Audit Authority is an independent agency providing review and appraisal of operations within the county government, Frederick County Public Schools and Frederick Community College. Audits are performed by internal staff as well as contracted third-party audit firms.
The list of audits to be conducted is prioritized based on strategic risk assessments. There are routine audits mandated by policy and/or law that are conducted on scheduled rotation managed by the IIAA and internal audit staff. Any employee or citizen has the ability to report to the IIAA concerns of waste, fraud and abuse — which are weighed in considering proposals for new audits.
In 2018, there was a request for an audit of the Intergovernmental Service Agreement between the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and federal government. The audit examined staffing, facilities, expenditures and reimbursements. All were deemed reasonable.
Unlike all of the normal processes, this audit of 287(g) has been initiated due to political pressure and ordered by political operatives. Unlike current and former audits, this announced audit has not been subject to any consideration of risk or priority among the numerous concerns of the county. Questions to council members and the county executive have been met with answers, “We don’t know the details of what will be audited. Anyone who is doing the right things wouldn’t worry about an audit.”
The routine audit processes, focusing on the many county departments and agencies including the sheriff’s office have been welcomed by Sheriff Jenkins and by the majority of our department leaders. This new audit — an obvious effort to use our taxpayer-funded resources in political gamesmanship, is offensive. The backdoor dealing in elected officials ordering audits as weapons is antithetical to transparent and service-focused government.
I and many others support Sheriff Jenkins and his consistent stewardship of the department responsible for the safety of all Frederick County residents. We appreciate the difficult job that he and his entire department have in service to all of us.