As a profession, auditing is often about sowing seeds and waiting (sometimes waiting for a long time) for results. Sometimes results from years-ago audits show up today, and we can track improvements over time.
But for one recent audit, our results were much more immediate, specific, and unquestionably caused by our audit work. In April, we issued an audit on presidential campaign visits. We found that in recent years, the City had spent at least $180,000 on protecting candidates campaigning or fundraising in Portland, but had not sought reimbursement. Police officers either worked overtime, which is an added cost to the City’s budget, or they were drawn away from their regular duties. We recommended that the City follow its policy and charge political campaigns or their organizers for the City’s cost.
In response, the Police Bureau agreed with our recommendation. In June, they billed a candidate’s campaign for more than $18,000 to cover Portland’s cost of sending police officers to Eugene, where they provided public safety services at a campaign rally.
In August, the campaign sent a check for the billed amount to the Police Bureau.
We’ll follow up more fully after Portland has billed for the costs of any other candidate visits this campaign season. We appreciate the Police Bureau’s efforts to implement our audit recommendations and are pleased with the immediate impact of our audit and the resulting reimbursement to Portland for its overtime costs to provide City services for campaign events.
-- Drummond Kahn and Minh Dan Vuong, Audit Services