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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2007 Media Releases


Date:
July 5, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Don Herz, Finance Director, 441-7411


MAYOR PROPOSES CREATION OF CITY AUDIT BOARD

Mayor Chris Beutler today said he is proposing an ordinance to create an audit board to assist the City in managing performance and internal audits. The Mayor’s proposal is in response to the City Council passage of a resolution offered by Council member Robin Eschliman in April calling for the hiring of an internal auditor for the City by July 1.

"The hiring of an auditor was called for to help restore public trust in City government and help us find savings to the taxpayers, goals that I share," Mayor Beutler said. "I greatly respect the Council and its attempt to make changes in this area, and I want to cooperate with them in going a step further. I want to suggest an alternative to meet these goals. I want to change the internal auditor under the Mayor’s office into an audit committee under the general direction of the Council, empowered to effectuate performance audits as well as internal or financial audits."

Beutler said performance audits give the City a way to measure performance against the mission and goals of City government. "Performance audits offer us the potential for a government that is more efficient and more effective," he said. "Performance audits will give us more ideas, more solutions and save more money. This new concept allows us to broaden our approach and implement performance as well as other kinds of audits."

The board would contract with performance auditing experts in the field or department chosen for examination. About $100,000 was budgeted by the Council for an internal auditor, and those funds would be used by the Board to contract for performance auditors. The board would have seven members:

  • three members nominated by the Mayor and approved by the City Council;
  • three members nominated and approved by the City Council; and
  • an ex-officio, non-voting member who has an auditing background in order to maintain continuity.

Each year, the board would receive auditing suggestions from the City Council, and the board would decide how to conduct the audits. "This independent approach is critical to ensuring public confidence in the auditing process," said Beutler. "Citizens must be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the board is operating in the public interest."

Beutler had experience with performance audits as Chair of the State Legislature’s Performance Audit Committee. He said the committee found millions in savings after examinations of the Lincoln Regional Center’s billing process and departments. "Performance audits provided the expertise and focus we needed to make real, long-lasting change in government."

Beutler thanked Eschliman for her willingness to consider the proposal and Council member Jon Camp for his advocacy for a City auditor. He said the new proposal is closer to the original concept of performance audits envisioned by both the Lincoln Independent Business Association and the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. He said he’s also discussed the proposal with other leaders in the community, who support performance auditing as a way to restore confidence in local government.

The internal auditor has been included in the City budget for two years, but the search was hampered by a lack of qualified applicants. The April Council resolution increased the pay range for the position.


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