Monday, October 3, 2011

Audit Plan

It's fall, and it's that time of year, the season of cooler weather and yellow leaves. As Shakespeare put in in one of his most beautiful sonnets (from memory), fall is "that time of year when thou mayest in me behold, when yellow leaves or none or few do hang upon bare ruined choirs where late the sweet bird sang." In the auditor's office this is the time of year for reaching out to ask what steps we can take to fine tune our annual audit plan. Every year we seek input from various stakeholders in our city to help me and the audit staff determine which audits we should do for the coming year, 2112.

We ask the Mayor, City Council and the Clerk and Recorder to chime in their opinion as to areas where they see weak internal controls or areas of risk. Let's say 'amen' to the mayor and council for their suggestions.

We will meet with the newly appointed CFO, Cary Kennedy. As former treasurer for Colorado she understands how important performance audits can be to improve the city agencies. As sure as leaves turn bright yellow, we are reaching out to find out where we can best serve. Sing to us, Cary.

Looking ahead to 2113 we will seek input from citizens as well by holding public meetings to seek help from Denver's citizens about perceived risks to city agency performance. We will hit the four quadrants of the city. We hope citizens, city employees, and business leaders will bring forward their concerns. Experts have written many books about how good auditors should get out from behind their desks and get in the trenches with the citizens and city workers to find out and hear first hand what is going on. We want to be citizen centric, citizen friendly and citizen centered. We will put out the call and hope the citizens will provide the response.

I want to thank members of the Denver Audit Committee for their good work in serving on behalf of their appointing authorities, 2 from the mayor, 2 voted on by council, and two appointed by me who also serves as chair of the city's audit committee. Fiercely independent, the audit committee members ask the tough and necessary questions about the audit findings of various agencies. This is not about hurt feelings, this is about improving how our city runs and how agencies serve the taxpayers. The auditor and audit committee members here in Denver hold the administration, council and agencies accountable for how our city is running. We will do regular follow-up to make sure agencies are singing the same tune in response to audit recommendations.

And after all this, we hope the citizens of Denver will hear, not angry cacophony, not setups nor spiteful gotchas, but rather a collaborative chorus of audit recommendations marked by harmonic accountability and syncopated commons sense business practices. Can you hear those sonorous birds chirping on the ruined abbey walls in Shakespeare's sonnet?

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