PINE BELT (WDAM) - PEER, the Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Committee, is the state's legislative watchdog committee. In the past, the PEER committee investigations and reports have uncovered major problems, inefficiency, and misspending in our state. A PEER committee report in 2011 led to the federal investigation of the Department of Corrections, resulting in the largest bribery and conspiracy case in the state's history. The last PEER report, issued in December, unveiled serious issues with some state agencies' use of procurement cards.
PEER cannot release any reports to the public or begin an investigation or review, without at least four committee members from each chamber voting to do so. Herein lies the problem.
The committee is composed of seven House of Representative members appointed by the Speaker of the House, Phillip Gunn, and seven Senate members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, Tate Reeves. Speaker Gunn appointed his PEER members in April. Lt. Governor Reeves has yet to appoint his committee members. Typically, the committee would be undertaking their important work now. However, without the Senate appointments to PEER, the group cannot function as intended.
PEER, since being created in 1973, has truly served Mississippi well as a watchdog for the interests of the citizens and state government.
Consider This: It is time for all committee members to be appointed so PEER can resume the business of investigating potential wrongdoings within our state government.