Long-ago debate on city auditor has returned to forefront: Eugene voters may see competing proposals on May ballot

In the January 28, 2018, issue of the Register-Guard, reporter Christian Hill writes:

Does the city of Eugene need an auditor to provide deeper scrutiny of city operations?

The question is all the buzz in Eugene civic circles.

But it is hardly new: It was first raised — and squelched — more than 15 years ago. Now it has flared to life afresh, with a passionate grassroots group gathering voter signatures and shepherding a citizen initiative onto the local ballot — the first time a Eugene citizen initiative has been put before voters in 22 years.

The auditor debate intensified this month as a separate, hastily convened citizen group — Citizens for Sensible Oversight — presented an alternative and very different auditor proposal to city councilors that they have fine-tuned and are poised to refer to the same May ballot.

Measure 20-283 — many months in the making by the grassroots group, which recently changed its name from City Accountability to ElectedAuditor4CityAccountability — calls for voters to elect an auditor separate from the City Council, the city’s legislative body, and the city manager. That auditor would have a sizeable budget and wide-ranging, independent power to investigate and report on any aspect of city operations.

By contrast, the newly proposed competing amendment that a council majority is favoring would have city councilors hiring and supervising an auditor and appointing an oversight committee to advise city councilors and the auditor’s work. …

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