-The Charlie Ross campaign on Tuesday released the second installment in a series of releases that highlights Phil Bryant’s questionable record as State Auditor.

Last year, the bipartisan Legislative PEER Review Committee issued a report that exposed some serious shortfalls in Phil Bryant’s job performance record.

The Ross campaign sent a release on Monday that focused on Bryant’s mismanagement of state resources, including performing unnecessary audits while not performing those mandated by state law and complaining about not having enough money but leaving an average of $1.4 million a year unspent.

THE COST OF MISMANAGEMENT

There is a great cost for Phil Bryant’s mismanagement. For all the audits that Bryant does not perform, certified public accountants have to pull up his slack, and many times, they charge more than $100 per hour for their services. This money doesn’t come out of the State Auditor’s budget — the agencies that are being audited have to pay for the audits with their own funds. –PEER Report to the Mississippi Legislature, Page 23

Bryant is statutorily mandated to audit all public school districts. In 2005 alone, Phil Bryant only audited 20 of the 150 public school districts in the state. This forced the remaining districts to pay “$1.6 million” to outside accountants for their audits. This money came straight from local education budgets. –PEER Report to the Mississippi Legislature, Page 24

Interestingly, Bryant had more than $1.3 million left in his budget in 2005 — including more than $800,000 for employee salaries. This is the same year that he forced schools to pay $1.6 million. Instead of using his own resources, Phil Bryant took precious education dollars from Mississippi’s classrooms.

Phil Bryant is also required to audit every county in the state. In 2006, Bryant only audited 23 of Mississippi’s 82 counties, costing county governments “$1.6 million” to hire accountants to perform their audits. -PEER Report to the Mississippi Legislature, Page 24

The same year, Bryant didn’t spend $1.8 million of his appropriated funds, including more than $1.3 million for employee salaries. Even though he had ample funds, Phil Bryant chose to take money from our county governments that they could have used for law enforcement, roads, schools, or other important county functions.

“Phil Bryant’s mismanagement has negatively affected our infrastructure, our security, and our children’s education,” Ross campaign spokesman Josh Blades said. “With his record of mismanagement and lack of accountability, Phil Bryant does not deserve a promotion.”

The complete PEER Report can be found at http://www.peer.state.ms.us/reports/rpt495.pdf.

Charlie Ross Campaign Release
7/31/7