City Councilwoman Carol Berz said on the issue of the council having its own auditor, the council is out of compliance with the city charter and a Federal Court order setting up the current form of city government.
Councilwoman Berz laid out several options for the council to consider in a three-page analysis of the matter that was raised recently by Councilman Leamon Pierce.
She said in 1990 when city government was reorganized, a portion of a city charter amendment said, "An internal auditor shall be appointed by the council, independent of the mayor, and may be removed or replaced at any time by the affirmative vote of a majority of the council. The internal auditor's responsibilities will include, but not be limited to, auditing expenditures of the executive and administrative departments and verifying that all revenues due the city are properly collected and accounted for."
She said, "For some reason, from inception, the job announcement for the council auditor position has been advertised as that of management analyst." Randy Burns currently holds the post.
She noted that the mayor has set up an internal audit department currently headed by Stan Sewell. She said since the mayor's auditor serves under the mayor, he could not audit the mayor.
Councilwoman Berz said the council could:
- Keep things as they are.
She said, "Neither the language of the charter, nor the intent of the court order, is met."
- Change the job description for the management analyst "to meet the language and intent of the law."
She said that may require an expanded department.
- Have the City Council develop its own "fully functional audit department."
She said, "The language and intent of both court order and charter would be met. Functional oversight, with independence from the political pressures of nine bosses, may be problematic. A notable budget increase would occur for which justification to taxpayers for service duplication may be problematical."
- The council and mayor work together to restructure the internal audit division "into a joint/separate entity reporting to both mayor and council."
She said the terms of the charter and court order could be met "with proper language and organizational design of an audit committee."
She also said, "Independence from political pressure may be problematical. A charter amendment would be necessitated."
She said, in any event, there should be:
- The maintenance of accurate records of expenditures/contracts requested by the administration and approved by the council
- The periodic review of transaction reports for expenditures made under the mayor's organization code, identifying any expenditures in violation of city code
- The periodic inquiry of the finance administrator to determine that funds are expended for purposes approved by the council.