COSTELLO’S CHARTER AMENDMENT ON AUDIT REFORM
Through audit reform, our City government has a unique opportunity to further reduce property taxes and improve the quality and scope of City services. That is why I am asking your support for Ballot Question I (“aye”, not “one”) when you go to the election booth in November.
As you may know, prior to joining the City Council, I was an Auditor with the US Government Accountability Office. This experience has given me a deep appreciation for the benefits to be gained through effective performance and financial auditing.
For the past year and a half, I have worked with the Mayor, City Council, and Comptroller to reform what was known as Quadrennial Audits, a deeply flawed auditing approach that had been watered down through the political process.
The new proposed auditing process ensures that the Administration and City agencies are held accountable to the taxpayers. We are accomplishing this change through an Amendment to the City’s Charter, which required and received approval by the City Council and Mayor.
For final approval, citizens need to vote in November on this proposed measure, listed as Ballot Question I. I encourage you to vote “yes” on Ballot Question I.
Specifically, the bill will provide for the following:
- Transfer responsibility from the Director of Finance to the Department of Audits (City Auditor) so there is no longer a conflict of interest.
- Increase the frequency of both performance and financial audits from four years to every two years.
- Provide for staggered audits, half of the agencies audited in odd calendar years, the other half in even years.
- Add three critical agencies to be audited: Department of Health, Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, and Mayor’s Office of Human Services.
- Provide funding through the Comptroller’s annual budget request, based on negotiated agreement between the Administration and the Comptroller’s Office.
- Ensure the audits are completed by the City’s Department of Audits, not by outsourced consultants.
- Publish audit reports on a website.
- Require City Auditor to report on status of Recommendations for Executive Action from immediate past audit for each agency.
- Establish the Biennial Audits Oversight Commission (BAOC). The BAOC controlled by City Council, comprises of City Council President, three City Council Members, Comptroller, Director of Finance, and Inspector General, they will meet in public at least two times per year, meetings will be publicly advertised. The BAOC will provide input and guidance to City Auditor on scope of performance audits.
- Reporting by the City Auditor to the BAOC on the status of all audits and a public discussion of agency corrective actions to address Recommendations for Executive Action.
- Take effect in January 2017.
- Most importantly, these measures will not increase taxpayer costs for what the City is currently paying to conduct these audits.