By Mr. John Mark Thompson (USACE)March 15, 2018
A government auditing class developed by internal review (IR) professionals at the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville may be on its way to the Pentagon after its recent debut at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Learning Center (ULC) last week.
Members of the Huntsville Center IR office created then helped conduct and instruct a Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS) refresher course that provided 32 continuing professional education (CPE) hours to 33 students in IR positions with USACE and the U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) during the first week of March 2018.
Lori Cordell-Meikle, chief of the IR Office at Huntsville Center, said auditors from across the continent and ranging in experience levels from supervisors to those new to the field came to Huntsville to brush up the foundational principals of government auditing.
But the idea for the class was born out of a necessity to meet regulatory guidelines for auditing certifications for both Department of Defense Financial Management Certification and requirements under Army Regulation 11-7; requiring 80 hours of CPE every two years with 24 hours to come from audit specific courses.
"I'd been having a challenge providing the required CPE hours for my staff," Cordell-Meikle said. "I decided to take on the initiative to solve this issue for my office."
The idea came in 2014 after Cordell-Meikle had a conversation with Jorge Roca, now retired Department of the Army IR director, who indicated he concurred with the need for training but funding did not permit formulation of training at the time.
From that time forward, Cordell-Meikle started planning how to meet the identified need. It was while she was on her 120-day detail at USACE Headquarters where she solidified the actual course date and the partnership with USARC.
Cordell-Meikle's initiative brought Dr. Valisa Farrington-Lynch, an auditor with HQDA, Financial Management and Comptroller Office in the Pentagon to Huntsville.
Farrington-Lynch came to audit the new Huntsville Center inspired course and observe its instruction to see if it meet the rigorous standards necessary to be deemed a CPE course for Army auditors.
She said the class met those standards and was very resourceful in providing a background on auditing, and now she'd like to bring the instructors and the course from Huntsville to the Pentagon.
"We're trying to bring this course to the Washington, D.C. area," Farrington-Lynch said. "In my everyday life, I'm responsible for training with all the IR offices that fall under HDQA."
The course also may be developed as an audit course at the ULC in the near future, Cordell-Meikle said. She has been working with John Barnett, director of the ULC, to accomplish this over the last eight months).
Along with Cordell-Meikle, Center employees Audwin Davis, director of Resource Management, and IR auditor Jurelder Solomon served as instructors, along with Ernest Lutz, IR chief with the Corps of Engineers' Engineer Research and Development Center and two USARC personnel, E'Meka Mosquera and Steven Khone.
Col. Darrell Boazman, Army Reserve 3rd Medical Command IR chief, was among the first students to participate in the class. He said the GAGAS course checked a couple of crucial boxes for auditors.
"What this course allows all of us to do, from the IR community, is all be on the same page," Boazman said. "It also gives us an opportunity to network with other organizations within the Army community and come together and have one common language."
Sound auditing is a cornerstone in ensuring government dollars are used correctly, according to Cordell-Meikle.
"It gives the taxpayer assurance that we are effectively and efficiently utilizing the funds we are entrusted with," Cordell-Meikle said. "So it lends credibility to the work that we do to support not only our commands but the warfighter and the nation at large."