Organizational Structure

 

Office of Legislative Audits (OLA)

 

Although its offices are located in Baltimore, the Office of Legislative Audits (OLA) is part of the Department of Legislative Services. OLA is a component of the Legislative Branch of State government and the office audits State agencies in the Executive and Judicial Branches and other entities as requested by the General Assembly of Maryland. As required by statute, the office reports to the Joint Audit Committee of the General Assembly and is responsible for:

 

·         Performing fiscal compliance audits of State agencies to evaluate fiscal operations and determine compliance with laws and regulations

·         Conducting performance audits to evaluate whether a State agency or program is operating in an economic, efficient and effective manner

·         Conducting performance audits of the financial management practices of local school systems

·         Operating a fraud hotline for reporting fraud, waste and abuse of State resources

·         Monitoring the financial reporting practices and financial condition of local governments in Maryland

·         Conducting special reviews and investigations requested by the Joint Audit committee

 

OLA is one of the largest audit organizations in the State and has a staff of 100 highly qualified and professional auditors. Audits performed by the office encompass a wide variety of organizations.

 

OLA traces its beginnings back to 1900, with the creation of the Examiner of Accounts. Over the years the office's name, organization, and duties have undergone many changes, including the expansion of its responsibilities.  One of the most significant changes occurred in 1968, when the Office of the State Auditor was transferred from the Executive to the Legislative Branch of State government. This transfer to the General Assembly's Department of Fiscal Services established the organizational independence necessary for the office to perform audits of Executive and Judicial Branch agencies. As a result of the 1997 reorganization within the Legislative Branch, the audit office was renamed the Office of Legislative Audits, a unit within the newly created Department of Legislative Services.

 

The Legislative Auditor has general administrative control over the Office of Legislative Audits, subject to the polices and directives of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates, the Joint Audit Committee of the General Assembly, and the Executive Director of the Department of Legislative Services. The Legislative Auditor is appointed without a fixed term of office by the Executive Director, subject to the approval of the President and the Speaker. The Legislative Auditor serves in a nonpartisan capacity. In accordance with statutory authority, the Auditor appoints a Deputy Legislative Auditor and other staff. For fiscal year 2002, the office has 110 professional auditors, many of whom are CPA's. The majority of OLA's employees have accounting degrees and hold professional certifications (e.g., CPA, CISA, and CFE).