Bill Summary for S 473 (2021-2022)

Summary date: 

Apr 1 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 473 (Public) Filed Thursday, April 1, 2021
AN ACT TO ENHANCE THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE ANNUAL AUDIT OF UNITS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT PREVIOUSLY THE SUBJECT OF AN AUDIT BY THE STATE AUDITOR, TO REQUIRE GARNISHMENT OF CERTAIN MONIES OWED TO AN ELECTED OFFICIAL OF A UNIT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN CERTAIN INSTANCES, TO PROVIDE IT IS A CRIME FOR AN ELECTED OFFICIAL TO MISUSE THE ELECTED OFFICE FOR PERSONAL FINANCIAL GAIN, AND TO PROVIDE THAT A PUBLIC OFFICER ALSO SERVING ON A NONPROFIT BOARD SHALL NOT ENGAGE IN SELF-DEALING WITH REGARD TO AWARD OF PUBLIC AGENCY CONTRACTS TO THAT NONPROFIT.
Intro. by Barnes, Sanderson, Edwards.

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Bill summary

Adds to the entities and notices the State Auditor must execute upon publishing an audit report pursuant to GS 147-64.6 to require the Auditor to notify the Local Government Commission upon publishing a report that is the result of an investigation of a unit of local government subject to the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act, Article 3, GS Chapter 159. Makes language gender-neutral.

Amends GS 159-34, which mandates local governments and public authorities to conduct annual audits, to authorize the Local Government Commission (Commission) to select the certified public accountant to conduct the annual audit when the Commission has received notice of a release of an investigative report with respect to that unit of local government or public authority from the State Auditor pursuant to GS 147-64.6, as amended. Permits using this authority for up to three fiscal years following the release of the investigative report. Allows the Commission to instruct the Secretary to issue a request for proposals when selecting a CPA. Requires the CPA to report directly to the Commission and governing board, comply with Commission rules, and be paid by the governing board. Authorizes the Commission to exercise the authority with respect to any unit of local government audited by the State Auditor on or after July 1, 2018.

Amends GS 153A-28, concerning counties, and GS 160A-64.1, concerning cities, to direct county and city finance officers to garnish compensation paid to any chair or other board of commissioners member, or the mayor or city council members, respectively, to collect any unpaid monies due to the county/city for county/city services until such debt is paid in full using the procedure for attachment and garnishment set forth in specified law relating to delinquent taxes. Adds to GS 153A-28, concerning counties, that the provisions of GS 105-368(a) that limits the amount of compensation that can be garnished to no more than 10% for any one pay period inapplicable to the new provision (a similar provision already exists in GS 160A-64, concerning cities); makes language gender neutral. Applies to any compensation paid under these statutes on or after July 1, 2021.

Enacts GS 14-234.2, making it a Class H felony for an elected officer to solicit or receive personal financial gain from the political subdivision for which that elected officer serves by means of intimidation, undue influence, or misuse of employees of that political subdivision. Excludes financial gain received for acting in the elected official's official capacity, or received with the approval of the respective governing board. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2021.

Revises the definitions and parameters applicable to GS 14-234, which bars public officers and employees from benefiting from public contracts, as follows. Expands what constitutes a public officer or employee deriving a direct benefit from a contract to include that the person (either the public officer or employee, or his or her spouse) is a director, officer, or governing board member of a nonprofit entity that is organized or operating in the State primarily for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, public health and safety, or educational purposes and which is seeking a contract, excluding entities created by the State or any of its political subdivisions. Adds and defines contract to mean the award of money from the public agency in the form of a grant, loan, or other appropriation. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2021. 

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