Posted On: November 19, 2019
On Tuesday, the Volusia County Council eagerly confirmed the appointment of Jonathan Edwards as the county’s new internal auditor.
The selection of Edwards, recruited from his position as deputy chief financial officer for the Town of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, capped off a process that began last year when the council adopted an ordinance reauthorizing the position that had been vacant for several years due to budget constraints brought on by the economic downturn. Council members decided that the position should be brought back to strengthen the county’s transparency and fiscal checks and balances. And they were excited Tuesday to confirm County Manager George Recktenwald’s selection of Edwards following a nationwide search to find the right person to fill such a vital position.
“We’re very happy to have you,” said Council member Heather Post. Added a delighted Council member Billie Wheeler: “This is wonderful.”
Edwards brings extensive experience in all facets of public finance and auditing, having previously served as an audit manager for La Crosse County, Wisconsin, and assistant finance director for the City of Charleston, South Carolina. He also served as a staff auditor in the State Auditor Office for the State of Missouri. Edwards is a certified internal auditor and a certified public finance officer and has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master of accountancy, both from Missouri State University. One key qualification that Recktenwald highlighted was the fact that Edwards has worked closely with the staff at all of his previous positions to implement the financial and operational improvements recommended by his audits.
“It was a great search, and because of that, we’ve really got a great candidate here today,” said Recktenwald.
The council will provide input and approval of what internal audits are conducted and all audit findings will be simultaneously submitted to both the council and county manager. The internal auditor will have a wide scope of duties and responsibilities, including the authority to audit all county departments, offices, boards, agencies, grants and any other operation or program under the direction or responsibility of the County Council. The scope includes operational, compliance and forensic audits. The internal auditor also has the authority to investigate any suspected cases of financial abuse or fraud related to county government.
Council member Deb Denys keyed in on the transparency issue, saying the new position will strengthen internal controls and help identify any issues that need to be fixed.
“You’re going to help us confirm our story internally for Volusia County and any weak areas, we’ll strengthen,” said Denys. “Any opportunities, we’ll address.”