Wednesday, July 12, 2006 | Re: Sanders Claims City ‘Hostage’ to Audit Committee

The most notable aspect of this story was Kroll’s apparent refusal to explain themselves. “Infringement on their independence” sounds a bit hazy, so I imagined a few other explanations:

1. Sarbanes-Oxley

Wikipedia.com’s description of the 2002 Act contains a formidable list under the heading “PCAOB’s requirements for auditor attestation of control disclosures.” Maybe this is causing Kroll to be overly cautious in their investigation, especially if a municipal audit is unprecedented for measures aimed at corporations?

2. Miscommunication

Surely Kroll explained why additional time and money was required each time they went before council to ratchet their contract up from $250,000 to over $20 million. Need for independence, technical glitches, document inaccessibility and other excuses don’t tell us much. Perhaps something has been lost in translation from council to media to public?

3. Murphy’s Law

This isn’t about the former mayor, but rather, the maxim “what can go wrong will go wrong.” For further explanation (and pangs of recognition), see www.murphys-laws.com.

4. Incompetence

According to another maxim (Hanlon’s Razor), “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.” In other words (Plano), “never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. Don’t assign to stupidity what might be due to ignorance. And try not to assume your opponent is the ignorant one – until you can show it isn’t you.”

5. Karma

What goes around comes around. Sanders admitted that “the arrangement the City entered into with Kroll was ill conceived and overly general.” Some would claim that this is “the pot calling the kettle black,” recalling frustrating experiences with building permits, land development, environmental regulations, etc.

Whatever Kroll’s real reasons may be, I’m hoping it’s anything but greed.

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