Friday, May 9, 2008 | Public confidence in the city’s finances begins with the auditor. We need someone who will keep an eye on our tax dollars and speak out if it looks like the books are being cooked. That’s why it’s necessary for auditors to be independent from the entity that they audit. 

Proposition C allows the mayor to choose the person who audits all city management and all city departments. Since the mayor is the manager in charge of all city management and departments, allowing any mayor to appoint the person who will audit the city departments is like having the fox guard the henhouse. 

How can you honestly audit the person who not only appoints you, but also participates in the selection of the majority of the audit committee members who will have the ability to recommend firing you? Does anyone really believe that an auditor selected by management/mayor will be independent from the person who appointed him or her? 

The only “standard” relied upon by those who support the mayor appointing the city auditor is the following eight words from the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards issued by the United States Government Accountability Office – “appointed by someone other than a legislative body.” However, nowhere in the Government Auditing Standards does it ever state that management/mayor should be that “someone.” In fact, page after page of the Government Auditing Standards provides standards as to why auditors must be independent from the entity they audit, both in fact and appearance. 

None of the five largest cities in the United States allow their mayor to appoint the city auditor; neither should San Diego. We can have real reform by voting NO on Prop C on June 3rd and doing it right in November.

Frye represents District 6 on the San Diego City Council.

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