If Eugene is going to have a city auditor, let’s do it right.
Vote NO on 20-283
Vote YES on 20-287
Vote NO on Measure 20-283!
The poorly-written Measure 20-283 sticks Eugene with overpriced auditing — and no citizen oversight! We can do better.
- Measure 20-283 pays a new politician a salary of almost $170,000!
This charter amendment would require the elected auditor be paid a salary tied to the salaries of three unrelated officials — which works out to be almost $170,000 as of May 2018. This is more than three times the median household income in Eugene, and they would be one of the highest paid elected officials in the whole state!
- Measure 20-283 would cost taxpayers nearly $700,000 every year.
The auditor’s office would cost the city a minimum of $677,000 every year (the equivalent of five police officers) with no guarantee any proposed savings would offset that cost. This means cuts would be required in other city services.
- Measure 20-283 has no citizen oversight.
The auditor would have no real accountability to citizens between elections. Without a citizen oversight committee, this proposed role lacks transparency. Plus, there’s no way to remove an auditor who is not performing, other than a recall election.
- Measure 20-283 calls for a rushed election with no run-off.
The first election for an auditor would take place just six months after the May 2018 primary, leaving little time for candidates to prepare to run. Also, without a run-off provision, it’s possible Eugene’s first auditor could be elected despite being opposed by a majority of Eugene voters.
- Measure 20-283 does not require the auditor be a Eugene resident.
Unlike all other elected officials, the city manager, and department heads, the elected auditor would not be required to live in Eugene — or even in Oregon.
- Measure 20-283 was developed in secret, without public input.
When amending the city charter, we should expect a transparent amendment drafting process. This measure was developed by a small group of activists with no opportunity for public input.
Vote YES on Measure 20-287!
Measure 20-287 gives voters a choice. Our alternative city auditor proposal comes out of a public engagement process and fits within an appropriate budget for our city.
- A citizen oversight committee.
An auditor’s work should have oversight and support from a citizen committee composed of a diverse group of Eugenians.
- A reasonable budget.
The office of the auditor should have the resources it needs to do the job, without cutting deeply into other essential city services.
- A clear process for selecting and removing the auditor.
A citizen oversight committee should help identify a strong slate of qualified candidates. But we also need a clear process for dismissing auditors in extreme cases.
- A requirement the auditor lives in Eugene.
The mayor, city councilors, the city manager, and department heads are all required to live in Eugene. The auditor should, too.
- A clear mandate and focus.
A good auditor provides objective feedback about best practices from other cities. Measure 20-283 limits the auditor’s role to criticizing Eugene’s past decisions, but an alternative should allow the auditor to provide timely, evidence-based advice to help the city move forward.
Letter to Council
Date: January 8, 2018
From: Citizens for Sensible Oversight
To: Eugene Mayor & City Council
Re: A sensible option to establish an independent performance auditor
Dear Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis and City Councilors,
We write to urge you to give voters on the May 2018 ballot a sensible option to establish an independent performance auditor accountable to the community.
Like many, we want a transparent and accountable city government that uses public resources efficiently to provide city services.
We appreciate that a group of activists developed a proposal for the May 2018 ballot with these stated aims.
However, upon closer look, we cannot vote for Measure 20-283:
- There is no citizen oversight or any accountability.
- The salary and staffing costs are too high.
- With no provision for a runoff, the election in November 2018 could result in the first city auditor being elected despite being opposed by a majority of voters.
- There is no requirement that the city auditor reside in Eugene, or even in Oregon.
- The proposal was developed without public input.
A recent news story raises serious questions about what Measure 20-283 means.
As it stands now, voters have no option other than to vote for a flawed proposal to establish a city auditor—or to vote against any auditor at all. To give voters an attractive choice, we offer the following proposed charter amendment to achieve the stated aims of Measure 20-283 in a clear and sensible manner.
Our proposal for an independent performance auditor relies on guidance from the Association of Local Government Auditors, and addresses all four key issues identified by Mayor Lucy Vinis’ study group: independence, access, accountability, and funding.
In developing our proposal, we followed the recommendation of Eugene’s citizen charter review committee for a performance auditor appointed by city council and overseen by an audit committee. The city charter already provides for a police auditor following the same model.
Note that the citizen charter review committee recommended not changing Eugene’s form of government: the committee did not recommend an elected auditor who would shift policy-making power away from the people’s elected representatives, the mayor and city council. Also, the committee recommended a performance auditor, one who would not duplicate or conflict with Eugene’s existing financial audit function.
We see merit in some parts of Measure 20-283. Voters seek assurance that an independent performance auditor will do what they expect. Therefore, we flesh out, and in some cases revise, the recommendations of the citizen charter review committee, retaining as many of its detailed provisions as makes sense.
We believe Measure 20-283’s lack of a requirement for a citizen oversight committee is a fatal flaw. Our proposal requires city council to establish a citizen performance audit review board, similar to the civilian review board for the police auditor; to require diversity and expertise on the board; and to give the board significant responsibility and authority for the performance audit function.
In developing specific language, we draw not only on the recommendations of the citizen charter review committee and the model of the Eugene’s police auditor, but also on the models of Lane County’s appointed performance auditor and Portland’s elected auditor.
To provide transparency, we present this proposal with commentary and detailed footnotes so you and the public can see how our proposal improves on Measure 20-283.
We ask you to carefully review our proposed charter amendment, to seek public input, and to have the city attorney review the language for legal soundness. Then we urge you to refer this proposed charter amendment, with any revisions you deem warranted, to voters on the May 2018 ballot.
Citizens for Sensible Oversight
 “Eugene city auditor’s broad oversight might extend to EWEB, LTD and garbage haulers: But the city’s lawyers dispute that it would have that power,” by Christian Hill, Register-Guard, 12/14/2017, http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/36247842-75/eugene-city-auditors-broad-oversight-might-extend-to-eweb-ltd-and-garbage-haulers.html.csp.
 Association of Local Government Auditors, Supplemental Guidance: The Role of Auditing in Public Sector Governance, 2nd ed., https://algaonline.org/DocumentCenter/View/22.
 The study group presented its findings to city council at a work session on November 20, 2017. https://eugene.ompnetwork.org/embed/sessions/20467/eugene-city-council-work-session-november-20-2017.
 Citizen Charter Review Committee, Final Report, January 2002, Recommendation D, City Performance Auditor.
 Eugene City Charter, Section 15-A, “External Review of Police.
 Citizen Charter Review Committee, Final Report, January 2002, p. 21.
 Lane Code §2.130, County Performance Auditor; Lane Manual §§3.070– 3.079, Office of Performance Auditor; Lane Manual §3.530, Performance Audit Committee.
 Portland City Charter ch. 2, art. 5, The Auditor.
Section 1. Section 15-B is added to Chapter III of the Eugene Charter of 2002 to provide as follows:
15-B. Independent Performance Auditor
(a) It is the policy of the city to maintain a performance and financial audit function to provide the city council, city manager, city staff and the general public with objective, timely and accurate analysis and information. To accomplish this policy, the city council shall appoint an independent performance auditor and citizen performance audit review board as described in this section. The council also shall annually appropriate funding for the office of the independent performance auditor that is sufficient to carry out the functions described in this section, including the hiring of the auditor, support staff and consultants, with a minimum budget of $250,000 per year.
(b) The city council shall hire, supervise and specify the salary of the independent performance auditor (“auditor”), with salary and benefits equal to or greater than the average salary and benefits for government auditors in Oregon. The auditor shall possess adequate professional proficiency as demonstrated by a relevant certification such as a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor or Certified Government Auditing Professional; have at least five years of recent auditing, evaluation, analysis or comparable experience; and remain certified during the term of office. The auditor must reside within the city throughout the term of office. The auditor may be removed from office only for cause by a vote of six or more city councilors, and after receiving advice from the citizen performance audit review board created by subsection (d) of this section.
(c) The auditor shall conduct or cause to be conducted performance and financial audits, and may conduct studies intended to measure or improve the performance, of city departments and programs following generally accepted government auditing standards. All completed audits and studies shall be provided to the city council and city manager, and posted on the city’s website. Subject to policies and budget appropriations adopted by the city council, the auditor may hire, supervise and remove employees for the auditor’s office, prescribe the duties and compensation for those employees, and retain consultants to assist with an audit. The auditor and other staff in the office of the independent performance auditor are independent of the city manager. The auditor shall have timely access to all city employees, information and records required to conduct a performance audit, including confidential and legally privileged information and records so long as the privilege is not waived and no state or federal law or regulation is violated.
(d) The activities of the independent performance auditor shall be subject to peer review in accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards and by a professional, nonpartisan objective group utilizing generally recognized guidelines specific to local government auditing. A copy of the written report of this independent review shall be furnished to the city council and be made available to the public.
(e) The city council shall appoint a citizen performance audit review board (“board”) to advise the council and the auditor on matters relating to performance auditing and to oversee the work of the auditor. The board shall consist of seven voting members, none of whom may be city elected officials or staff, with at least one resident from ward 2 or 3, one from ward 4 or 5, one from ward 6 or 8 and one from ward 1 or 7. At least one voting member shall have experience auditing or accounting.
(f) The city council shall specify the responsibilities of the board. At a minimum, the board shall provide advice to the city council on the selection, compensation and dismissal of the auditor; the appropriate amount of budget and staffing for the auditor’s office; the auditing principles and guidelines that the auditor must use in conducting performance audits; the auditor’s proposed annual audit plan; and the auditor’s performance. In addition, the board also shall provide advice directly to the auditor on the fieldwork plans for each audit; review the completed audits for quality assurance purposes; and provide other advice to the auditor when requested by the auditor.
(g) To the extent that any of the provisions of this section conflict with section 16 of the Charter, these provisions shall control. If a question arises as to the meaning of any provision of section 15-B, the city council may authorize the auditor to retain outside legal counsel to provide advice on that question.
Section 2. In the event that both this measure and Measure 20-283 receive a majority of “yes” votes, whichever measure receives the most “yes” votes shall become effective and the other measure shall never take effect.
Citizens for Sensible Oversight is a group of volunteer Eugeneans that have come together to advocate for establishing an independent performance auditor function with strong, meaningful community oversight. Like many, we want a transparent and accountable city government that uses public resources efficiently to provide city services. What we don’t want is a bloated auditor’s office with an excessive budget and no clear mandate or limitations. We include people from all parts of town and across the political spectrum. We are led by a steering committee and powered by a growing list of supporters.
Our Steering Committee
- John Barofsky
- Julie Daniel
- Tiffany Edwards
- Dave Funk
- Val Hoyle
- Joy Marshall
- Jenny Ulum
- Chris Wig
- Marty Wilde
- Rob Zako
- Casey Barrett
- Jon Belcher
- Janice Bohman
- Catherine Briner
- John H. Brown
- Ann Burgess
- Diane Byers
- Sean Camblin
- Monique Carroll
- Sarah Case
- John Costello
- Barbara W. Cowan
- Kevin Cronin
- Sophia DeLoretto-Chudy
- Sarah Delp
- Doug Edwards
- Brian P. Erickson
- Philip Farrington
- Lynn Feekin
- Anne Forrestel
- Katharine Gallagher
- Jennifer Geller
- Tim Gleason
- Bill Griffiths
- Kayleen Hanna
- Paui Hoobyar
- Mark Johnson
- Mandy Jones
- Brenda J. Kame’enui
- Matthew K. Keating
- Jeanette Ingrid Kessler
- Ryan Kounovsky
- Michael Lambert
- Anita Larson
- Lee Lashway
- Mary S. Leighton
- Anne Marie Levis
- Kathy Lynn
- Kathy Madison Kevrekian
- Jill McKenney
- Douglas S. Mitchell
- Emily Mooney
- Eileen Nittler
- Amanda Nobel Flannery
- Sean Nobel Flannery
- Duane Partain
- Anna Peña
- Darcy Phillips
- Kitty Piercy
- Hugh Prichard
- Carleen Reilly
- Pat Reilly
- Seth Sadofsky
- Howard Saxion
- Eugenia Schauerman
- Jane Scheidecker
- Kevin Shanley
- Sean Shivers
- Joshua Skov
- Terry Smith
- Sonja Snyder
- Frank Sobol
- Carolyn Stein
- Rozanne L. Stein
- Patricia Thomas
- Paul Thompson
- Mark William Thornton
- Gene Tonry
- Robert Uhler
- John VanLandingham
- Julie Voelker-Morris
- Shareen Vogel
- Pat Walsh
- Robert Warren
- Diane Wiley
- Susan Wolling
- Tenille Woodward
- Janet Yood
- Bob Zagorin
Tell the Eugene City Council to refer our alternative to voters!
Monday, January 22, sign up at 7:00 pm
Harris Hall, 125 East 8th Avenue, Eugene
- Sign up below so we know you plan to participate.
- At Harris Hall, look for people with the yellow “Fix It!” stickers.
- Plan to speak for just 30 seconds. If you like, you can use a suggested talking point we will provide on an index card.
On Wednesday, January 24, at noon, the Eugene City Council will decide whether to refer our alternative to voters.
YES! I am in favor of greater accountability and transparency in Eugene city government and the efficient delivery of needed community services.
NO! I cannot support the Measure 20-283 proposal for an unaccountable, overpaid, un-democratic, and non-resident city auditor that was developed without public input.
YES! I urge the City Council to give voters a choice by placing on the May ballot the Citizens for Sensible Oversight alternative for an independent & accountable performance auditor.