Knox Commission votes to hire a new county internal auditor

(WBIR-Knoxville) The Knox County Commission on Monday agreed during its work session to hire an internal auditor.

Officials expect to post the job in the coming weeks.

The move comes a couple of weeks after officials gave former auditor Richard Walls a severance package that included about $31,000 and medical coverage for 18 months. Walls's last day on the job was Sept. 3.

The county's human resources department will select three candidates who will interview before the audit committee. Officials said they're looking for someone with at least six years of experience, a college degree, and "appropriate certification."

The internal audit department, which reports directly to the County Commission, operates on $257,000 a year and has three employees, although it's short-staffed by one since Walls stepped down.

Tracy Wright, who works in the office, is serving as the interim auditor.

"This is also an opportunity to see where the office is going and if there are any improvements, or if we need to tweak that office in any way, then this is the opportunity to do that," said Commissioner Mike Hammond.

Commissioner Amy Broyles, who serves on the audit committee, agreed.

"Once we hire someone we'll want to know what their expectations are and we will want to make sure that we have the adequate staff in place to meet those expectations," she said.

The county also will look at what other counties of comparable size pay their internal auditors. Walls, who worked for the county for more than a decade, earned $92,700. The next auditor will more than likely earn more, officials said.

In other commission news:

The board unanimously recommended Commissioner Mike Brown and Knox County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Carl King to serve as non-voting liaisons to the Knox County Ethics Committee.

In an 8-3 vote, they approved a resolution expressing support of a national flat fee tax on Internet sales, as well as, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, which gives states the authorities to streamline sales tax laws and collect taxes directly from online retailers. If approved during next Monday's meeting, the Knox County Clerk's office will send a copy of the resolution to U.S. Congressman Jimmy Duncan, Jr. Commission Vice Chairman R. Larry Smith and commissioners Amy Broyles and Dave Wright dissented.

They also unanimously recommended to transfer just over 391 acres in the Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge to the state to use as a state park. More details will be announced on Friday during the Legacy Parks luncheon.


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