CMR chairman surprised DMR report doesn't have more detail

jphampton@sunherald.comJune 17, 2013 

The report on a 60-day review of the Department of Marine Resource's finances apparently doesn't have the financial detail the Commission on Marine Resources chairman had hoped to see.

The report by HORNE LLP, an accounting firm hired by DMR, will be unveiled this morning at the commission meeting.

"I was a little surprised that there wasn't a little more detail on the finances," said CMR Chairman Vernon Asper, adding he had not had a lot of time to study the report. "I thought that this was going to help us understand where all the money had gone and I'm a little disappointed that's not in there.

"I flipped through it and I didn't see any tables, or summaries of figures, or anything like that, so I really don't know what all it says.

"I was expecting a whole bunch of spreadsheets and things and it's not that. It does have a whole lot of information but not about that."

Last month, DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller said he hoped the report would give the agency a clearer picture of its finances going into the new fiscal year that starts July 1.

"Going into July 1, I hope we'll be able to more accurately reflect what our budget should look like in terms of dollars," he said. "And then we'll set a course to live within that budget.

"But if we don't come out with a clearer way of understanding this, then I have failed."

Earlier this year, interim Director Danny Guice said the DMR could not account for as much as $4 million. He later said about $2.3 million had been accounted for.

Then Miller took over and hired HORNE at a cost of up to $150,000 to look into the finances. Miller also has said another Mississippi CPA firm, Nicholson & Company, will examine the DMR's books after HORNE. That work is expected to start sometime after July 1.

Miller, who met with DMR employees Monday afternoon about organizational changes at the agency, could not be reached for comment.

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