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Collier County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Office of Inspector General
3315 Tamiami Trail East, Ste. 316
Naples, FL 34112
Phone: (239) 252-8412
Email: Inspector General

Mailing Address
Collier County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Office of Inspector General
3315 Tamiami Trail East, Ste. 102
Naples, FL 34112-5324

 

 

Structure of Inspector General

Mission

The mission of the Office of Inspector General is to improve the effectiveness of internal controls, and preserve the public trust by providing independent, objective audits, reviews and investigations designed to add value and improve Collier County government.

Authority

By authority of the Constitution of the State of Florida, Article VIII, Section 1. (d), the Clerk of the Circuit Court shall be “ex‐officio clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, auditor, recorder, and custodian of all county funds.” The Constitution of the State of Florida, Article V, Section 16, also specifies that the Clerk of the Circuit Court shall have the duties quoted above.

It is the Clerk’s role to determine legality of payment, and the Clerk has personal and criminal liability for signing illegal warrants. (Mayes Printing Company v. Flowers; Alachua County v. Powers; Att’y Gen. Fla. 79-70 (1979); 86-38 (1986); and 97-67 (1997)). A statutory competitive procurement process and adherence to the contracts as executed by the Board of County Commissioners would be part of the determination of the legality of payments, whether past, present or future.

Another component is Attorney General Opinion 58-236, stating the well-settled duty of the clerk of court as ex officio auditor of county funds.

“The auditing function of the clerk includes more than the arithmetical determination as to the amount of the claim being presented for payment and the clerk has a duty to determine the legality of an expenditure …in accord with the apparent purpose of the constitutional provision, making the clerk of the circuit court ex officio auditor of the county, which is to provide a check and balance system that insures proper expenditure of public funds.”

The Clerk has established the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to fulfill the responsibilities of the office as they relate to the auditing, review and investigation functions on financial programs and processes of the County. Per Florida Statute, the Clerk is responsible for the audit of Guardianship financial reports, which are prepared and completed under the Office of Inspector General. We also provide a compliance and quality control function for the Clerk’s many assigned duties.

History

The Clerk of the Circuit Court employed an Internal Audit department for over twenty years. In 2020, we joined ten other Florida counties who had transitioned to an Office of Inspector General (OIG). Our goals were:

Credibility Enhance public trust and accountability to stakeholders and citizens.
Standardization Increase uniformity with state, federal and international processes and procedures.
Independence Reinforce the office’s independence in structure and through specific requirements.
Education Additional training and certification opportunities through Association of Inspector General national, state and local chapters.
Promote Awareness Share the work we do, and help prevent and identify fraud, waste and abuse.

The concept of Inspector General in the US goes back to George Washington adopting a European practice of appointing agents to inspect his army and report their findings.

  • After Watergate, lawmakers realized that transparency and accountability in government are vital to a functioning democracy. Congress passed the Inspector General Act of 1978, where Jimmy Carter originally appointed 12 Inspectors General.
  • Congress has modified the IG Act many times over the years to give IGs better tools to battle fraud, waste, and abuse, and to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in agency operations. Two important upgrades were the 2008 creation of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, and most recently, the IG Empowerment Act of 2016.
  • Today, the number of Federal IGs has grown to 73. Executive branch agencies have their own IGs, whose job it is to ensure that agencies are operating within the boundaries of the law and in compliance with government standards.
  • Click here for more information regarding he 40-year history of the federal program.

Audit, evaluate, and investigate graphicSection 20.055(2), F.S., created, in all state agencies, an Office of Inspector General to provide a central point for coordination of and responsibility for activities that promote accountability, integrity and efficiency in government. The program began filtering to County and Local agencies soon thereafter.

  • In February 2007, Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel of the Office of the Florida Chief Inspector General (CIG) addressed the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation regarding a number of Inspectors General’s desire to have the Commission develop an accreditation program for the Inspectors General investigative function.
  • In October 2007, the Commission approved the development of the Inspectors General Accreditation Program.
  • The First Edition of the Florida Inspectors General Standards Manual was developed and approved by the Commission in February 2009.

Why follow professional standards?

Allows us to measure our standards of performance against best practices
Ensures a comprehensive, professionally reviewed set of written policies and procedures
Holds auditors, inspectors and investigators accountable
Helps us identify information needed to support or refute complaints

Organization

Inspector General staff shall report to the Inspector General, who reports functionally and administratively to the elected Clerk. The Clerk is responsible to the citizens and taxpayers of Collier County, and is independent of the Board of County Commissioners.

The Office of Inspector General is composed of an Audit Services Unit, which performs internal audit and consulting services, and a Public Integrity Unit, which performs guardianship audits, investigations and contract oversight services.

Click here for our organizational chart

Processes

Although our different functions adhere to separate standards of performance, there are many commonalities to our processes.
Click here for our process flowchart

 

 

 

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