Internal audit office being restructured


WKU’s Office of Internal Audit is undergoing its own version of auditing.

The office, which looks at and analyzes financial policies and expenses, is being adjusted in order to become more efficient — including reassigning all of the members of that department.

Ann Mead, vice president for Finance and Administration, is overseeing and will be over the office during the process. Starting next year, her new title will be changed to senior vice president for Finance and Administration.

In addition to Mead’s new title, the Board also approved a 14 percent pay raise, from $144,792 to $168,000 according to the Fourth Quarter Board of Regents agenda.

Mead said the internal auditing duties are being partially outsourced, and an outside accounting firm is being brought in to reassess the process.

“The consult is helping senior administrators identify risk and developing a responsive audit plan to be approved by the Board,” Mead said.

The one full-time staff member directly affected by the disbanding of the auditing office, formal internal auditor Warren Irons, was reassigned within the university. Irons currently works for Mead doing “special, short-term projects through the end of the year.”

The two part-time staff members, Julie Hodgkins and Barry Woosley, were both given 30 days paid leave after the office was disbanded, Mead said. She said she hasn’t had contact with either of them because both reported to Deborah Wilkins, chief of staff, at the time. According to the WKU Directory, Hodgkins is unlisted.*

“This gets us to the point where we’re professional, as professional as we can be in our internal auditing functions,” President Gary Ransdell said.

Ransdell said this transition is only temporary and isn’t prompted by current problems within that department, adding that Freddie Higdon, Board of Regents chair, encouraged the members to look at an office that doesn’t get much attention.

“We don’t have an issue with embezzlement or anything like that,” Ransdell said. “It’s simply a good time to do this. You’re always looking for ways to improve, and this is an area that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention from the university and the Board, historically.”

He said the contract was made with Grant Thornton, the accounting group, to strengthen current auditing policies.

During the process, the firm will also take over as WKU’s internal auditor.

When the evaluation is close to completion, Ransdell said an internal auditor with the skills recommended by Grant Thornton will be hired.

Mead’s new duties began in August, after the third quarter Board of Regents meeting.

* The original sentence listed Barry Woosley as being employed as a volleyball line judge. That person is different than the one mentioned in the story.