No second chance for Eugene elected auditor measure

In the July 10, 2018, issue of the Register-Guard, reporter Christian Hill writes:

There will be no second chance for an elected city auditor, at least not this year.

Eugene city councilors declined Monday night to consider referring to the November ballot a revised version of the measure that voters rejected in May. Voters had also turned down a measure to bring aboard a council-appointed auditor during the same election.

The vote was 6-2, with only councilors Betty Taylor and Emily Semple voting for the referral.

The majority of councilors said there was not enough time to discuss the proposed measure — the filing deadline is next month — and they disputed that the revisions are an improvement over the defeated measure.

Councilor Claire Syrett said the city should take its time to develop a measure and refer it to the November 2020 ballot, when the presidential election is expected to generate a huge voter turnout.

“I think there is definitely an appetite in the community to have an audit function, but I think presenting the voters with a revised measure this close to an election when they already defeated two will not be a winning decision,” she said.

Taylor, who requested city councilors consider the revised measure, said a referral would give it the fair shot supporters who qualified the measure for the May ballot deserved, while addressing the concerns raised by its critics. Taylor has maintained that the City Council’s decision to refer an appointed auditor measure to the same ballot doomed its counterpart.

The revised proposal addressed the major elements of the defeated measure that had drawn the strongest criticism. It slashed the pay for the elected auditor, added a requirement that an elected auditor live in Lane County, and established an appointed advisory board.

But Councilor Chris Pryor said his interpretation of the language in the proposed measure is that it would give the elected auditor a “blank check” to set up his or her office’s operations. It also would give the elected auditor the discretion to set up an advisory committee, rather than make it a requirement, he said.

“I don’t think it’s an improvement, ” Pryor said. “I think it’s actually worse than the original proposal.” …

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