Sunset Performance

A performance audit is an independent examination for the purpose of reporting on the extent to which agencies and departments of state government are faithfully carrying out the programs for which they are responsible. The audit reports assist the General Assembly and state executive management

  • by assessing the extent to which state agencies have fulfilled their statutory mandate and the efficiency and effectiveness of management’s organization and use of resources;
  • by developing recommendations for management or legislative action that might improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency’s operations; and
  • by providing pertinent program and financial data about the agencies.

Most of this section’s workload is performance auditing directed by the Tennessee Governmental Entity Review Law, commonly known as the Sunset Law (Section 4-29-101 et seq., Tennessee Code Annotated). This law requires that each agency, board, commission, and other entity be reviewed at least once every eight years by the legislative Joint Government Operations Committee to determine whether that entity should be abolished, restructured, or continued.

Audit Process

Performance audits are conducted in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Audits progress through six phases: planning, detailed audit field work, report writing, comments from agency management, publication of the final report, and presentation of the final report at a legislative hearing. Performance auditing includes the following activities:

  • review of relevant state and federal laws, court cases, Attorney General opinions, executive orders, rules, and regulations;
  • review of the agency’s procedures, plans, and policies;
  • examination of the agency’s records, files, and correspondence;
  • interviews with staff of the audited agency and related agencies;
  • observation of the agency’s operations and activities;
  • analysis of the agency’s revenue and expenditure data;
  • analysis of the agency’s program data, performance measures, and reported results;
  • review of comparative data from other states;
  • surveys of individuals, agencies, and organizations served or affected by the agency;
  • tests for compliance with significant legal and administrative requirements;
  • evaluation of the extent to which the agency achieved desired results at the lowest reasonable cost; and
  • recommendations of possible alternatives for legislative or administrative action that may result in more efficient and effective accomplishment of the agency’s legislative mandate.

Contact Information

Assistant Director
Joe Schussler, CPA, CGFM
Sandra Tulloss
Dena Winningham, CGFM