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Auditor Mary Hull Caballero

Promoting open and accountable government

Notice of Receipt of Ballot Title (02/02/17)

NOTICE OF RECEIPT OF BALLOT TITLE

Notice is hereby given that a ballot title for a measure referred by the Portland City Council to qualified voters at the May 16, 2017 Special Election has been filed with the Elections Office of the City of Portland on February 2, 2017.

An elector may file a petition for review of this ballot title in the Multnomah County Circuit Court no later than 5:00 P.M., February 13th, 2017.

 The ballot title is as follows:

BALLOT TITLE

CAPTION:

Amends Charter: Increases Auditor’s independence from audited agencies, adds duty.

QUESTION:

Shall Charter be amended to increase City Auditor’s independence from audited agencies and include Auditor’s authority to investigate City agencies?

SUMMARY:

The measure changes Charter provisions regarding the elected City Auditor, which were last updated in 1994. The Auditor’s responsibilities have expanded since then to include more oversight functions, such as the ombudsman and lobbyist registration. Currently, the Auditor relies on and sometimes must seek permission from City agencies subject to the Auditor’s oversight for legal, personnel, procurement, and budget services.

The measure increases the Auditor’s independence by: allowing the Auditor to seek advice from independent legal counsel, giving the Auditor more autonomy over staffing decisions, designating the Auditor as a contracting agency, and authorizing the Auditor to submit budget requests directly to the City Council without review by an audited City agency. The measure requires periodic external reviews of the Auditor’s Office.

The measure also establishes in Charter the Auditor’s ombudsman function, which conducts impartial investigations into the public’s complaints against City agencies. Currently, the ombudsman operates under authority granted in code. It has been in the Auditor’s Office since 2001 and is a core component of the Auditor’s oversight responsibilities.

Other provisions.