‘Accountability’ vs. the Real Deal: A response to Mayor Lucy Vinis on a city auditor

In the June 29, 2017, issue of the Eugene Weekly, chief petitioner and former Eugene City Councilor Bonny Bettman McCornack writes in a guest viewpoint:

Readers of Lucy Vinis’s June 22 viewpoint may have thought the mayor was voicing support for the citizens’ initiative petition, filed in May, that would amend the Eugene City Charter to establish an Office of an Independent elected city auditor. But the mayor’s intent, in sync with city officials, is to undermine the citizens’ effort with their own self-serving version of an audit function.

In 2002, the city refused to pursue an auditor function, despite sending various other charter amendments to the voters. City officials have ducked this issue for the ensuing 15 years while presiding over escalating community distrust due to a lack of transparency and accountability. Suddenly, six weeks after citizens filed their petition, city officials have a newfound zeal for having an auditor.

The subtext of Vinis’s editorial is the introduction of a city-orchestrated-and-subsidized process to create a subordinate auditor position — in order to thwart the citizens’ initiative for a truly independent and autonomous City Auditor’s Office.

It is important that the public understands the differences between the city’s subordinate auditor — beholden to city officials and the citizens’ proposal for an elected city auditor who is independent of council and/or manager control, and accountable to the public. …

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