Our story yesterday on Proposition C, the ballot measure that would allow the mayor to hire the city’s internal auditor but take away the mayoral authority of firing that person, revealed the divide among local politicos on the issue.
There is also no consensus on whether the city should have an elected auditor answering only to the taxpayers. Some, most notably City Attorney Michael Aguirre, say an unelected auditor cannot be truly independent.
“The only way we will get reliable financial statements is if the auditor is directly responsible to the people for inaccurate financial statements or tardy financial statements,” Aguirre said this week.
Donna Frye, Prop. C’s loudest opponent says she’s “open” to an elected auditor, but is most comfortable with an auditor who reports to City Council. Others like Marti Emerald, who oppose Prop. C on the grounds that it does not make the auditor independent enough from the mayor, are not ready to support the bureaucracy and politics that would come with another elected official.
For those reasons supporters of Prop. C are adamantly opposed to an elected auditor, with at least one fearing the possibility of another elected official in the mold of Aguirre.
“You would have another elected official with a staff and a car allowance,” said April Boling, a candidate for the District 7 council seat.
“And we’d be faced with same struggles the city currently faces with the city attorney’s budget — right now the City Council approves the city attorney’s budget, but when the city attorney feels the need to overspend the budget, he simply does so.”