by Brian Lamar

For some evil doers that lack a basic sense of morality, he is known as a pain in the ass, but for the average person working hard to make ends meet, he could easily be referred to as Mississippi’s Batman mixed with some Sherlock Holmes.

Throughout the year, Shadrack “Shad” Tucker White, the Mississippi State Auditor’s social media posts light up frequently with a message that basically says “We got em!” in a nutshell.

Constantly, Shad and his team of forensic accountants and law enforcement agents have been leaving no stone unturned when it comes to public servants and how they manage the stewardship and spending of public funds.

White’s laser-focused goal of protecting people and keeping people honest was honed in humble beginnings.

White grew up in Jones County in the small town of Sandersville, MS with a population of about 700. The town’s typical rural Mississippi background surrounded by wholesome people molded White into the public servant he is today.

“I look back on my childhood and I am grateful for where I grew up. It was safe. It was the kind of place you could leave your door unlocked. We were free-range kids and we would stay out until dinnertime. We had a good standard rural Mississippi upbringing,” said White.

White, a product of Mississippi’s rural public education, found lessons in daily life from mentors around him during his formative years. “I am blessed to have wonderful people in my life. My mother and grandmother were school teachers and my dad and granddad were oilfield pumpers.

White’s grandfather, a military veterans and small business owner, was the biggest influence on values absorbed growing up.

“He really stressed some values that stuck with me like the importance of taking responsibility for your own life, setting goals and working hard to achieve them,” said White. “I took a lot of their lessons and values that they instilled in me. They serve as anchor points here in the auditor’s office everyday,” White explained.

Recently, White’s office fell under criticism when an Ole Miss University professor allegedly skipped work to attend black lives matter protests. White’s office stated that the professor was in the wrong due to the rules that prohibit state workers from striking. Also, the question of salary came into play since the professor was receiving pay while not at his place of work.

Even though online dissent occurred due to the social friction over the auditor’s office holding the professor accountable and the occasional death threat that comes into the office over cases that involve much more money, White and his team continue to be determined to fight for Mississippi.

Safety is a concern from time-to-time with aggressive messages and threats that he receives.

“Yes, there is some risk in doing this job. You always have to be cautious, but this is why we are being asked to do this job. Somebody’s got to step up and do this job and do the right thing and enforce the law,” said White. “But it is not as much risk as the agent in the field who has to confront a lot of these individuals face-to-face. It is far less risk than our men and women deployed overseas. If this low-level of risk is what I have to stomach, then I will do it knowing I am not passing the buck on to someone else,” he said.

Although White finds himself in the public eye constantly through both scorn and praise, he doesn’t do it for the attention.

“Being in a job like this is not about me or accolades I can earn for myself. It’s about what I can do for the people I work for, the taxpayers. I think a lot of my grandfather and the lessons he taught me,” said White.

“I am very motivated by the mission of this office.The mission of the state auditor’s office is to be the entity that steps into the gap to protect the taxypayers,” said White.

Although his law-enforcement mission is centered around financial crimes, there is no lack of work to be done.

“There’s a lot of money flying around this state. These are taxpayer dollars flying around. It is very easy to overlook the misspending of that money. It has been very easy in the past for someone to justify stealing it. Someone has to step into the gap and make sure that money has been spent the way the taxpayers want, said White.

With such tedious work, White said his dedicated team is what keeps him going.

“I am fortunate to be surrounded by 135 people that share our goal and mission. While I am not the one who is going out and putting handcuffs on people or I am not the one who is poring over documents looking for that misspending, I have the responsibility to build and manage the team and communicate what we are doing to the world,” said White.

“At the end of the day, my goal is to get results and get money back to the taxpayer” he said.

To view the State Auditor’s office cases, go to: www.osa.state.ms.us/reports/. If you feel that you are aware of fraud perpetuated by a government employee, go to: www.osa.state.ms.us/fraud/