Former State Auditor Matt Dunlap ‘isn’t sure’ if he’ll continue in the job next year with new credentials

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About five months after being forced out as state auditor, Matt Dunlap received internal auditor credentials.

Maine law requires anyone holding the position of state auditor to be certified as a public accountant, internal auditor, or information systems auditor. People who do not have these titles have nine months from the date they took the oath to obtain them.

When Dunlap was sworn in on January 4, 2021, he had none of these qualifications, but chose to pursue internal auditor qualifications. On October 1, 2021, Dunlap was forced out of his post after narrowly failing to achieve certification.

To obtain the credentials, a person must pass a series of three tests. Dunlap passed the first test but failed the second and third tests by a few questions last September.

After becoming a state auditor, Dunlap said his original plan was to pass the first internal audit test in March 2021, the second in May 2021 and the third in July 2021.

But Dunlap said the certification had “become much more sophisticated over the past 20 years because back then you didn’t have the scandals at WorldCom and Enron, which changed the accounting world. And technology has become so much more central than what we do in government. »

Dunalp passed the first exam in early August after failing it once. The schedule has also been made difficult by a limited number of test dates available due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Institute of Internal Auditors’ rule that a failed test cannot be retaken for 60 days.

“It was pretty brutal,” Dunlap said of the process. “When I was elected, I had this kind of strange apprehension and I couldn’t really express it. Now I can. When you’re in a sailboat, you have a choice. When you enter the hurricane, you have no choice. Just keep your head into the wind and don’t pause.

Dunlap added that coping with failing to get credentials in nine months was “pretty tedious.”

“It was awful. I felt really bad, because now I don’t have a job. Then the Bangor Daily News did their editorial. They’ve always had a fetish for parliamentary elections. It was like being burned down. So, I thought, well, I’m going to double down and I have to prove to myself that I can do it,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap rescheduled the exams and passed the third, but again failed the second.

“At that point, I was like, should I just call it a day? There’s no sin in saying you can’t do something. And people around me are like, you have come so close. [It’s] just a few questions, and there’s no cost to do it again.

Dunlap was scheduled to take the final test on February 4, but a snowstorm caused it to be postponed to February 19. Dunlap waited a week and a half to receive the certificate to publicly say anything about the final receipt of his internal audit credentials.

“So now I can honestly say, yeah, my timing was pretty bad, but at least I can do it,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap wrote an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News on March 3, in which he claimed his ability to persevere and earn internal audit credentials showed kids they could accomplish anything they wanted.

From his editorial in the BDN, Dunlap said he wanted to achieve two things.

“First of all, I wanted to thank the people who really pushed me. Because you can get really discouraged with that stuff,” he said.

Dunlap also wanted to use the editorial to send a message to children about overcoming adversity.

“I also just wanted to respond to this editorial a bit. A newspaper can write whatever it wants, but when I read this thing and it said, “Matt Dunlap is no longer the state auditor.” He should never have been the state auditor,” and they went on to say how electing someone completely unqualified is such a dumb idea. I thought, you know, we tell kids they have to strive to be whatever they want to be, and then I stumble and fall. And what [does the Bangor Daily News] do? They kick me in the head,” Dunlap said.

“I was mad about it and gave up. But I thought, I don’t want to throw a punch at the Bangor Daily News, but I wanted to talk about it, that we’re trying to encourage people and that it should be more meaningful for the kids than for me,” Dunlap added.

According to Dunlap, the response he received to his editorial was tremendous.

Now that Dunlap is a certified internal auditor, he doesn’t know if he’ll run to become a state auditor in the 131st Legislature.

“I guess I could. I don’t really know what’s going to happen yet,” said Dunlap, who is currently using her new credentials to work on municipal audits.

Dunlap added that getting certified is “an absolute gold standard, the first step. I’m still learning a million things.

But Dunlap also suggested that a future legislature should consider making changes to Maine’s legal requirements for the position of state auditor.

“Going forward, we have by far the strictest requirement in the country. I think there are about 23 states where the auditor has no certification requirement because it is an administrative position .

“If someone asked me if it needed to be changed, I would say I wouldn’t throw it away, but I would definitely make some changes. First of all, nine months is categorically ridiculous. It’s partly because of me, because I had never taken so many accounting courses in high school. I had to learn everything from scratch, which gave me a huge handicap. I had a lot to learn and a little time to learn it. And the fact that I did it in less than fourteen months tells you it’s doable, but nine months is probably too strict,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap also noted that his experience in technology upgrades while serving as Maine’s secretary of state gave him an edge with this part of the certification.

Dunlap said he hadn’t given enough thought to the law governing the state auditor’s powers to make specific suggestions, but said he thought the types of qualification certifications should be expanded.

“I think there are lots of ways to make sure your chief administrator actually understands what’s going on and what assurance you can give the public to that effect. I also think they should expand the certifications allowed. We have some very knowledgeable Certified Fraud Examiners. Certified Fraud Examiner is not a certification to be the state’s auditor, which is kind of weird if you think about it,” Dunlap added.

Of her experience earning audit degrees, Dunlap concluded, “The bottom line is that it’s been an incredible journey. It was painful at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world because I learned a lot about the craft. I learned a lot about myself and I learned a lot about the people around me and it was all very valuable.



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