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Liberty Cello copy

EW logoEugene Weekly Endorses 20-283

(4/26/2018)
MAKE AUDITING GREAT AGAIN!

Who doesn’t want genuine oversight of the doings of city government?

Well, the backers of Ballot Measure 20-287 don’t, for one. The measure is the Eugene City Council’s cynical response to a previously filed citizens’ initiative — Ballot Measure 20-283 — that would create an independent and separately elected city auditor.

The backers of the city-approved auditor proposal would have you believe otherwise, but the timing of their ballot measure makes it clear that 20-287 is nothing but a poison pill — a tried-and-true tactic in Oregon and elsewhere in which established interests try to undermine a reform proposal by offering a watered-down version of the original idea on the same ballot. The goal is to muddy the issue and split the vote so that neither measure passes.

The original measure in this case — 20-283 — would create an independent elected performance auditor to oversee city programs. The auditor would not be appointed by the city council but would be elected directly by the citizens. The measure also establishes a budget for the auditor’s office of 0.1 percent of the city budget, a reasonable sum.

The council’s watered-down version would have the council appoint its own auditor and give the office about a third of the originally proposed budget to work with. Both ideas weaken the auditor so much that the office would become just one more drag on the city’s budget without providing a clear benefit.

Vote for a real auditor with a “yes” on 20-283 and a “no” on 20-287.


If you missed Gary Blackmer’s very informative presentation you can watch it here. (We’re working on extracting smaller pithy sections if you don’t want the whole experience.) Gary had a lot to say, not only about what auditors REALLY DO, but some of the pitfalls he sees in the Council-referred measure.


Blackmer Town Hall slide copy


Curious about the differences between an elected and an appointed auditor?  Here are 20 REASONS to support an elected auditor.


George Brown questions City Manager Ruiz about $7 million cost overruns on the proposed City Hall design not reported to Council for a year.
This is what it looks like when Council hires and supervises one of their “appointees.”
Yet another reason why Eugene needs an ELECTED auditor who works for you … not an *appointed* auditor who works for the city!


pentagon

Massive Pentagon agency lost track of hundreds of millions of dollars

A damning outside review finds that the Defense Logistics Agency has lost track of where it spent the money.


January 12, 2018 KEZI interview with Bonny McCornack: “Measure 20-283 preserves the form of city government, and protects the form of city government…While adding badly needed democratic checks and balances.”


guard dogOakland’s elected Auditor is a guard dog and not a lap dog. Here is how Oakland’s elected auditor benefited taxpayers.

The audit found that two Oakland Council members violated law by exerting inappropriate influence in City contracting and operations.


from Eugene Weekly, December 7, 2017 by Ted Taylor:

20171207news-BlackmerDoes Eugene Need an Independent Auditor?

 Former elected Portland auditor talks about benefits of creating a similar office here.

Why Eugene’s Auditor must be elected and have secure minimum funding…


“In Hard Times, Government Watchdogs Are Often First to Get the Ax,” by Mike Maciag, Governing, November 2017

cost+cutting+illo


 How does an auditor election work? Follow the Multnomah County auditor campaign where 3 candidates are vying for the position.


WE DID IT!

10,017 VALID SIGNATURES! Almost 2,000 more than required to get on the ballot!

Winning Letter

Made possible by the most dedicated hard-working volunteer team imaginable. 100 days to gather 8,091 VALID signatures is a crazy challenge — there hasn’t been a citizen initiative in Eugene since 1996 — and it is a measure, not only of our hours with a clipboard, but the enthusiasm and support in our community for the idea of an ELECTED AUDITOR. On to the campaign!


 11am Thursday, October 12 City Accountability submitted over 1,400 signature sheets! Watch the video here.


 We’re done! 13,000 Eugene ballot measure petition signatures to be turned in for verification Thursday, 10/12 at 11am!

ClipboardToss

October 11 Press Release:

Almost 13,000 Eugene residents signed the petition for an independent ELECTED City Auditor.

Volunteers for the citizens’ initiative to amend the Eugene Charter to establish an Office of an independent, elected City Auditor will be submitting the the signatures for verification at 11 a.m. on Thursday, October 12 (day 99 of the 100-day limit) at the City Manager’s Office, 125 E. 8th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Lane County Public Service Building.

“City Accountability,” the petition committee proposing this ballot measure, needs 8,090 signatures to qualify for the May 2018 ballot. The City Recorder’s office and the County Elections officials have 15 days after submission to determine the number of valid signatures.

We are extremely confident that we have surpassed the required threshold of community support, but many details are left to the discretion of the City and County officials.

The three chief petitioners for this proposal are former City Councilors George Brown and Bonny Bettman McCornack, and neighborhood leader and local businessman David Monk.

The proposed charter amendment would authorize an independent elected City Auditor to conduct financial, performance, compliance, or other audits of all aspects of city government operations to determine whether public resources are used cost-effectively, services are provided fairly and efficiently, and adequate internal controls are in place to protect public assets, save money, improve service, and prevent fraud and waste.

“City Accountability” did not invent this wheel. The provisions in the Charter Amendment are based on professional auditing standards and model legislation from across our country. The committee researched other cities’ and jurisdictions’ charters, ordinances and budgets to propose an auditor function for the City of Eugene that will provide the needed checks and balances to our particular — strong manager/volunteer council — form of government.


 City Accountability and Mayor Vinis’ auditor study group on local news August 17: KVAL & KMTR


 Our Revolution Endorses Elected Independent City Auditor Charter Amendment

Our Revolution

Our Revolution Lane County went 35 to 2 in favor of endorsing the ballot measure in a vote held after a debate between Chief Petitioner Bonny Bettman McCornack and Chris Wig, Read the full Eugene Weekly article here.


 from the Lindholm Company Blog, August 1, 2017
Eugeneans See City Hall Project Handled Poorly

Lindholm graph 8.1

Eugeneans disapprove if the handling of the city hall project by an overwhelming margin.

QUESTION: Do you approve or disapprove of How the project to build the new Eugene City Hall has been handled? IF APPROVE/DISAPPROVE: Is that strongly or somewhat? IF DON’T KNOW: Which way do you lean?
METHODOLOGY: 200 live telephone interviews of City of Eugene likely General Election voters were conducted April 10-11, 2017. The margin of error at the sample median is 7%.


 from the Lindholm Company Blog, July 18, 2017
Eugene Independent Auditor Supported by Wide Margin

lindholm graph

Adding an elected Independent Auditor in Eugene is supported by a wide margin. However, it does not hit the crucial 70% level. Ideas that sound good tend to get a large amount of initial support. Campaigns tend to reduce that support. Usually a measure like this would need something above 60% to be really ahead and would like north of 70% to be comfortable.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is based on the old wording and for a general election. Should have updated polling later in the year.

QUESTION: City of Eugene Office of the Independent Auditor. The auditor would be elected to four-year terms, would operate separately from the city council and manager and would conduct financial, performance and other audits of all city operations and activities.
METHODOLOGY: 200 live telephone interviews of City of Eugene likely General Election voters were conducted April 10-11, 2017. The margin of error at the sample median is 7%.

NOTE: The text of the question was based on official documents and coverage by the Register Guard newspaper at the time of the survey. Subsequently the city proposed a caption and question which would lead to a different survey question wording.


 An Independent Elected City Auditor can…

• Provide unbiased verification of public spending
• Continuously improve city services
• Save money
• Ensure fact-based decision making
• Detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse
• Strengthen internal controls
• Increase trust and goodwill in government