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The Florida Senate

2004 Florida Statutes

Section 218.391, Florida Statutes 2004

218.391  Auditor selection procedures.--

(1)  Each local governmental entity, district school board, charter school, or charter technical career center shall use auditor selection procedures when selecting an auditor to conduct the annual financial audit required in s. 218.39

(2)  The governing body of a charter county, municipality, special district, charter school, or charter technical career center shall establish an auditor selection committee and auditor selection procedures or use the procedures outlined in subsection (3). The purpose of the committee and the procedures is to contract with an auditor to conduct the annual financial audit required in s. 218.39

(3)  The governing body of a noncharter county or district school board that retains a certified public accountant shall establish an auditor selection committee and select an auditor according to the following procedure:

(a)  For each noncharter county, the auditor selection committee shall consist of the county officers elected pursuant to s. 1(d), Art. VIII of the State Constitution, and one member of the board of county commissioners or its designee.

(b)  The committee shall publicly announce, in a uniform and consistent manner, each occasion when auditing services are required to be purchased. Public notice must include a general description of the audit and must indicate how interested certified public accountants can apply for consideration.

(c)  The committee shall encourage firms engaged in the lawful practice of public accounting who desire to provide professional services to submit annually a statement of qualifications and performance data.

(d)  Any certified public accountant desiring to provide auditing services shall first be qualified pursuant to law. The committee shall make a finding that the firm or individual to be employed is fully qualified to render the required services. Among the factors to be considered in making this finding are the capabilities, adequacy of personnel, past record, and experience of the firm or individual.

(e)  The committee shall adopt procedures for the evaluation of professional services, including, but not limited to, capabilities, adequacy of personnel, past record, experience, results of recent external quality control reviews, and such other factors as may be determined by the committee to be applicable to its particular requirements.

(f)  The public shall not be excluded from the proceedings under this subsection.

(g)  The committee shall evaluate current statements of qualifications and performance data on file with the committee, together with those that may be submitted by other firms regarding the proposed audit, and shall conduct discussions with, and may require public presentations by, no fewer than three firms regarding their qualifications, approach to the audit, and ability to furnish the required services.

(h)  The committee shall select in order of preference no fewer than three firms deemed to be the most highly qualified to perform the required services after considering the following factors: the ability of professional personnel; past performance; willingness to meet time requirements; location; and recent, current, and projected workloads of the firms. However, such distribution shall not violate the principle of selection of the most highly qualified firms. If fewer than three firms desire to perform the services, the committee shall recommend such firms as it determines to be qualified.

(i)  The committee may request, accept, and consider proposals for the compensation to be paid only during competitive negotiations under paragraph (h). The firm ranked first may then negotiate a contract with the board giving, among other things, a basis of its fee for that engagement. If the board is unable to negotiate a satisfactory contract with that firm, negotiations with that firm shall be formally terminated, and the board shall then undertake negotiations with the second-ranked firm. Failing accord with the second-ranked firm, negotiations shall then be terminated with that firm and undertaken with the third-ranked firm. Negotiations with the other ranked firms shall be undertaken in the same manner. The board, in negotiating with firms, may reopen formal negotiations with any one of the three top-ranked firms, but it may not negotiate with more than one firm at a time. The board shall also negotiate on the scope and quality of services. In making such determination, the board shall conduct a detailed analysis of the cost of the professional services required in addition to considering their scope and complexity. For contracts over $50,000, the board shall require the firm receiving the award to execute a truth-in-negotiations certificate stating that the rates of compensation and other factual unit costs supporting the compensation are accurate, complete, and current at the time of contracting. Such certificate shall also contain a description and disclosure of any understanding that places a limit on current or future years' audit contract fees, including any arrangements under which fixed limits on fees will not be subject to reconsideration if unexpected accounting or auditing issues are encountered. Such certificate shall also contain a description of any services rendered by the certified public accountant or firm of certified public accountants at rates or terms that are not customary. Any auditing service contract under which such a certificate is required must contain a provision that the original contract price and any additions thereto shall be adjusted to exclude any significant sums by which the board determines the contract price was increased due to inaccurate or incomplete factual unit costs. All such contract adjustments shall be made within 1 year following the end of the contract.

(j)  If the board is unable to negotiate a satisfactory contract with any of the selected firms, the committee shall select additional firms, and the board shall continue negotiations in accordance with this subsection until an agreement is reached.

History.--s. 65, ch. 2001-266.