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The Howard County Government has established the structure, responsibilities, and authority of the Office of the County Auditor in the Howard County Charter, Section 212. The text of the Charter concerning this office is as follows:
Section 212. County Auditor
The Council Shall, by resolution, appoint a County Auditor who shall hold office for an indefinite term at the pleasure of the Council and shall receive such compensation as the Council may determine. The County Auditor shall be a certified public accountant licensed for the practice of his or her profession under the laws of this State, and shall be appointed on the basis of his or her knowledge of governmental accounting and auditing and his or her experience pertaining to the duties of his or her office. The County Auditor shall, not later than November 30 of each year, prepare and submit to the Council and to the County Executive, a complete financial audit for the preceding fiscal year of all offices, departments, institutions, boards, commissions, corporations, courts and other agencies of the County government. The Council may in its discretion except those agencies whose entire records, accounts and affairs are completely audited each year with the approval of or by the State government. Such audit shall include a report thereon together with such explanatory comments as the Auditor may deem appropriate. Notice of the availability of the report shall be published in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the County, and copies of the complete audit shall be available to the public and the press in the County Auditor’s office and at the public libraries. In addition to any financial audit required by this section, the County Auditor shall have the authority to conduct other financial or management audits. All records and files maintained by all officers, agents and employees of the County and all offices, departments, institutions, boards, commissions, courts and corporations and other agencies thereof, shall at all times be open to the inspection of the County Auditor where necessary for the conduct of his or her office. The County Auditor shall promptly call to the attention of the Council and the County Executive any irregularity or improper procedure which he or she may, from time to time, discover. The Council shall have the power to implement the provisions of this section and to assign additional functions, duties and personnel to the County Auditor not inconsistent with those provided herein. All actions of the Council pursuant to this section shall be exempt from the executive veto.
Other sections of the County Charter relevant to the Office of the County Auditor include the following:
Section 213. Special audits
Either the Council or the County Executive may at any time order the examination or audit of the accounts of any department, office or agency receiving funds from the County government. Upon the death, resignation, removal or expiration of the term of any County administrative officers, the County Auditor shall cause an audit and investigation of the accounts maintained by the officer, and by his or her department, office or agency, to be made. The County Auditor shall report the results of his audit to the County Executive and the Council, and copies shall be made available to the public and press no later than four months after the ordering of the audit. If, as a result of any such audit, an officer shall be found to be indebted to the County, the County Executive shall proceed forthwith to collect the indebtedness. All actions of the Council pursuant to this section shall be exempt from the executive veto.
Section 214. Investigation by the Council
The Council may make, or cause to be made, investigations into the affairs of the County and the conduct of any County department, office or agency and for this purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony, and require the production of evidence. It shall be deemed a misdemeanor for any person to fail or refuse to obey a lawful order issued in the exercise of these powers by the Council and upon conviction thereof shall be punishable by fine of not more than $1,000.00, or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both.