Seeking a Eugene auditor: Ballot measure backers need to over-communicate

In the December 18, 2017, issue of the Register-Guard, the editorial board writes:

The disclosure last week that a proposed Eugene city auditor would have much broader powers than previously spelled out was both startling and a little unnerving.

The Register-Guard’s Christian Hill reported that this came to light when a disagreement emerged between the group that qualified the auditor proposal for the May ballot, City Accountability, and the city’s attorneys.

City Accountability says an independent, elected auditor would have the authority to examine spending and operations not just of the city government, but also the Eugene Water & Electric Board, the Lane Transit District and the private companies that haul away trash.

The ballot measure states that the auditor “shall have the authority to conduct audits of all city operations and activities, including but not limited to: departments, offices, boards, activities, agencies, contracts, franchises, projects, and programs …”

But it does not mention EWEB, LTD, Sanipac, Lane Apex Disposal Services or other companies or agencies as coming under the auditor’s purview.

Former City Councilor Bonny Bettman McCornack, a leader of City Accountability, told Hill that “where there are Eugene taxpayer funds involved, the entity is auditable.”

But the full extent of the proposed auditor’s authority may not have been immediately obvious to voters who helped get the measure on the ballot. …

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