Friday, March 5, 2010

Recently our internal auditors have reported to me that they are still getting lots of pushback from city agencies about our access to information on audits.

One agency says we cannot see files because our auditors might release names of clients served by the agency.

Never mind that the city charter, recently changed by the voters to allow us to do performance audits, insists that we follow the rules and regulations of the Comptroller General of the United States in performing our audits. These rules are called "The Yellow Book." The Yellow Book instructs our auditors that we cannot release confidential client or patient information. They do not trust the Denver Auditor's Office and our professional auditors with classified information. I know, and we all know, the Denver Auditor's Office is a nesting ground for future Denver Mayors. This auditor is not running for mayor. I am not out to show the administration, "I gotcha."

Never mind that this same agency has signed a waiver allowing federal auditors to get copies of their classified personal client information. This is perhaps the worst cut of all. This agency simply does not trust our auditors with classified information. But they will allow Federal Auditors to get copies of their classified information.

Never mind that the agency's intransigence is simply a bad business practice blocking our auditors from processes and information which may lack internal controls and leave the city at risk.

We will continue to fight the agencies who try to deny us information essential to our audits. It will take time, but we will make it up the mountain of accountability here in our city. Our internal auditors will lead the way. And I hope we are all in 'amen corner" on this issue. Do I hear an "Amen?"

And interestingly enough, in serving 16 years on the state legislative audit committee, the more an agency performed poorly, the more defensive that mediocre agency got. The same is true here at the city of Denver, unfortunately.

Someone at a neighborhood meeting recently asked "Just what does the auditor of Denver do?"

I answered "I tell truth to power, and much of the time they don't want to hear about it."

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