Committee recommends terminating Knox County's internal auditor

Committee recommends terminating Knox County's internal auditor

Richard Walls Richard Walls

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County's internal auditor may not have his job much longer.

The Knox County audit committee voted 4-1 Tuesday to recommend that the county terminate internal auditor Richard Walls over concerns about his work performance.

Dr. Joe Carcello, the chairman of the audit committee, told 6 News committee members were concerned about both the quantity and quality of his work.

Carcello said they specifically looked at where he was focusing his time and unreconciled differences in audits between Walls and the auditees.

He said other auditors had also voiced concerns over his performance.

Dr. Carcello, along with Commissioners Ed Shouse, Amy Broyles and Dave Wright voted in favor of the recommendation. Mary Kiser voted against it.

Commissioner Shouse told 6 News that Walls only completed three audits last year, but the expectation is that five or six would be completed.

Those audits include investigations into the Beck Cultural Center, Hardin Valley building expense and an ethics audit.

Shouse also said that Walls didn't look into areas where the county is most at risk financially, such as the Trustee's office and the school system due to its large budget.

Knox County Trustee John Duncan III recently stepped down from his position as trustee after pleading guilty to official misconduct over a bonus scandal in which he paid both himself and others for online courses they never took.

This isn't the first time Walls has come under fire.

In 2009, he was the subject of a review by external auditing firm Alexander Thompson Arnold (ATA) after then-Mayor Mike Ragsdale filed a complaint against him.

If Knox County commissioners vote to terminate Walls, they can then decide whether to replace him or go with an outside company.

They will vote on the recommendation July 22.

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