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Mississippi Transparency: State Auditor Pickering Gets National Accountability Award

DENVER, Colo.–The only state official from the entire country to get the David M. Walker Excellence in Government Performance and Accountability Award for 2014 was your state auditor, Stacey Pickering. He got the award at a ceremony in Denver during the 20th Biennial Forum of Government Auditors.

Pickering announced that he would receive the award at this year’s Neshoba County Fair.

If you remember hearing News Mississippi report several dozen or so stories about local government workers in Mississippi who have been arrested or forced to pay back your tax money that they misused, well that’s one reason Pickering was picked for the award.

“He has worked hard to bridge gaps, create partnerships, reduce fraud and waste, and assist government entities in being better prepared,” said Berri Davis, director of the Financial Management and Assurance Division of the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

This is from a news release from Pickering’s camp:

In his six years as Auditor, Pickering’s office has recovered more than $21 million in embezzled, misspent, or misappropriated funds.  According to Rutgers University’s Center for Public Integrity, Mississippi is 6th in the nation in the enforcement of public corruption laws.  Additionally, the Office of the State Auditor’s (OSA) Investigative Division has 57 outstanding indictments and 135 more individuals have pled guilty or been convicted during that time.  Twenty-four public and elected officials have been removed from office through felony convictions due to OSA investigations or they were terminated or compelled to resign due to OSA investigations.

Pickering was recognized for his work with the Mississippi Legislature to modify laws that:

 

  • Improved OSA oversight ability and that improved accountability to taxpayers related to auditing the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the new BP Oil Spill RESTORE Act;
  • State economic development programs and projects that use state funds;
  • Education accountability measures to improve the accuracy of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program formula;
  • His efforts to improve the work of his agency’s Investigative Division.

“The citizens of Mississippi are beneficiaries of this recognition by the National Intergovernmental Audit Forum. It represents six years of work by the Auditor’s staff to strengthen laws to protect taxpayer money and hold government officials accountable with a zero tolerance for public corruption,” said Pickering.

In 2012, Pickering received the National State Auditor’s Association’s “National Excellence in Accountability Award” for his work on ARRA accountability and oversight.

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