JMEC Board Launches Forensic Audit
ESPAÑOLA, N.M., February 28, 2022 – The Board of Trustees of Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative, Inc., (JMEC) approved at its Friday, February 25, 2022, meeting an independent audit firm, Dawson Forensic Group of Lubbock, Texas, to conduct a forensic audit and internal controls consultation for JMEC, beginning immediately.
“This is an important step for JMEC to review some past issues and improve on the quality of JMEC’s delivery of electric services,” said Marcie Martinez, chair of the JMEC audit committee. “The cooperative has been working on this plan for several months and we want to get started on the audit right away.”
A forensic audit examines specific financial practices of an organization and, as with any audit, returns with findings and recommendations for action. JMEC leadership submitted issues for the audit and the board of trustees reached out to members for issues to be included in the forensic audit. The board decided to include all issues submitted by the trustees and members that were supported by some manner of evidence.
“An audit can investigate topics that have documentation or confirmation,” said Dennis Trujillo, president of JMEC‘s board of trustees. “While an audit cannot run down rumors, we intend to look at all the issues that have been raised that came with the required documentation.”
The JMEC board of trustees agreed to expand the scope of the forensic audit should evidence of an issue emerge during the audit process. Issues included in the audit’s scope cannot be fully disclosed at this time due to confidentiality and liability concerns but include solar project documents, capital credit processes and the new headquarters building construction. The forensic audit is expected to take at least three to four months.
A full report will be prepared in conjunction with the forensic audit. Steve Dawson, principal with the Dawson Forensic Group, has conducted numerous audits for electric cooperatives throughout the U.S. He has no prior working relationship with JMEC, its trustees or staff.
“JMEC’s board of trustees understands that the work of a credible third party like Dawson Forensic Group is essential to the effective examination of previous practices as well as recommendations for remedy,” said Trujillo. “The trustees understand the process can be difficult but look forward to the audit’s findings and the opportunity to institutionalize and carry out recommended best practices.”