She says audits are quite common in government.
Frederick, Md (KM) In response to our requests for comment, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner issued a statement regarding remarks made by Sheriff Chuck Jenkins concerning the audit of the 287g program. She said audits are quite common in county government, and ensure accountability for use of tax dollars. Gardner went on to say in her statement that the third-party audit of the 287g program was initiated by a bipartisan group of County Council members and the County Executive to ensure open and transparent government.
In an interview with WFMD’s on the “Morning News Express,” the Sheriff said the audit of the 287g program was not necessary, and that the County Executive and Council President MC Keegan-Ayer were responding to a “small vocal minority” which doesn’t want the Sheriff’s Office participating in this program.
The 287g program lets correctional officers determine the immigration status of individuals arrested by deputies. If they’re here illegally, they can be turned over to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and be deported.
The Sheriff says the program has led to the deportation of more than 1500 criminals from Frederick County. He has argued that the immigration status is determined at the County Detention Center, but critics say deputies purposely pull over individuals to question their immigration status.
The Sheriff says the County spent $20,000 on an audit. He says he could have easily provided the statistics on the program’s cost to the county.
Gardner also said she has confidence in the county’s finance personnel who reported no county funds were budgeted to support this program. The County Council will formally receive the audit during a public meeting on Wednesday, July 22nd at 5:00 PM. It will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 19, or by video streaming through the county’s web page.
Here is County Executive Gardner provided to WFMD News following a request for her response to the Sheriff’s comments:
A bi-partisan group of County Council members and the County Executive initiated an independent third party audit of the 287g program to ensure open and transparent government. Audits are common in county government and should be welcomed by all agencies including the Sheriff’s Office. Audits ensure accountability for the use of tax dollars and can result in better fiscal and operational management.
As the County Executive, I have confidence in our finance team who have consistently reported that no county funds were budgeted in support of the federal 287g program. The outcome confirms the county has not budgeted any local tax dollars to support this program though the auditor did make a series of assumptions to allocate a relatively small amount of expenditure from other existing line items like over-time, food, and mileage.
When the audit was initiated, the County Council also committed to hold a public meeting with the Sheriff to discuss the audit, the 287g program, and to answer questions. I look forward to this meeting on Wednesday evening July 22 at 5 pm. This is an open meeting of the county council and citizens are welcome to watch this meeting on Channel 19 or by video streaming through the county webpage.
By Kevin McManus