Inspector General & Fraud Reporting
The Department of Inspector General conducts independent, comprehensive audits and investigations under the authority of the Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller. The objective of these audits is to add value and improve Polk County operations.
The Inspector-General performs a wide range of internal audits, including financial, administrative, operational, and compliance audits. The department also works in cooperation with the Probate Division of the Clerk to fulfill the Clerk's statutory duty to audit guardianship reports filed with Florida's 10th Judicial Circuit. In addition, the department provides investigative services and internal consultation to the Board of County Commissioners as authorized by the Clerk, and assists the County's external auditors with the year-end financial audit.
Under Florida Statutes, the Clerk serves as the ex officio County auditor. In Polk County, this function is fulfilled, in part, by the Department of Inspector General. The department is responsible for auditing and investigating operations of the Polk County Board of County Commissioners and of the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, projects, and functions performed by contractors doing business with the County, and County revenue sources. The department's audit and investigative functions serve as an important check and balance for County operations. To provide the highest degree of independence, the Inspector General reports directly to the Clerk and Comptroller, who is an elected constitutional officer, independent of the Board of County Commissioners.
In 2021 the Clerk's Department of Inspector General (IG) earned re-accreditation by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA). This accreditation program has long been recognized as a means of maintaining the highest standards of professionalism. To maintain accreditation the Inspector General must complete the accreditation process every three years, and must comply with 46 standards and undergo rigorous inspections in order to earn re-accreditation. This is the second re-accreditation the Inspector General has earned since its initial accreditation by CFA in 2015.
In 2022, the Department of Inspector General participated in a quality assurance process known as peer review. A team of assessors with similar skills and experience from other national agencies inspected the department's policies, procedures, and documentation for audits and investigations completed from 2014 through 2016. The team issued their opinion letter (PDF), indicating that the department meets all relevant standards for audits and investigations for the period.
Reporting Fraud, Waste or Abuse
The Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller is committed to preventing fraud and maintaining an environment in which internal controls can be established and improved. A crucial element of internal control is a mechanism for preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse of County resources. The Clerk has established several means for employees and residents to report potential fraud, waste, or abuse by the following that have a business relationship with Polk County:
- Other Entities
All complaints received will be reviewed by the Clerk's Inspector General to determine if sufficient information has been obtained in order to conduct a meaningful investigation. By virtue of the Florida Whistleblower Act, employees who report suspected fraud are protected from retaliation by management or other employees.
We encourage reporting via the fraud hotline, during business hours, whereby you can remain anonymous while speaking with an investigator. This allows us to ask questions and gather sufficient information to conduct a meaningful investigation. A preliminary review of allegations is made to determine the probability that alleged acts could have occurred. We may not be able to investigate vague allegations or complaints left on voice mail if further information cannot be obtained.
What to Report
- Violations of federal, state or local laws, rules, or regulations
- Theft, waste or misuse of County assets or resource
- Violations or circumvention of County policies or State or Federal regulations
What Not to Report
- General complaints, suggestions or personnel issues
- Fraud, waste or abuse of non-County resources (however, if you call, we may be able to refer you to the proper agency)
- Issues of extreme urgency, such as the threat of violence or harassment
How to Report
- To report fraud, waste or abuse of county funds, call the fraud hotline at 863-534-7776. We cannot help with private disputes. Call during business hours and be prepared to provide specific information, such as names, dates, contracts, locations, and other pertinent information. If you wish to remain anonymous, and you are calling after normal business hours, leave a call-back number and state that you wish your identity to be protected.
- You can mail specific information to:
Lita McHugh, CPA, CIG
Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller
P.O. Box 9000, Drawer CC-14
Bartow, FL 33831
- Complete our online form.
Audits & Investigative Reports
See the Document section on this page for recent reports. Please contact the Inspector General for copies of older audits and investigative reports.