Like President Clinton in his first run for President, the city auditor developed her creds in the conservative community by creating a Sista Soldier moment.
She publicly spanked two Black City Council members. These council members were trying desperately to level the economic playing field in Oakland. T hey were trying to integrate the money.
These council members may have violated a provision of the city charter. The auditor surely violated a provision of her contract with the taxpayer.
She pledged to be fair.
The city auditor, without a doubt, violated a cardinal rule of the audit profession. She is required by law to write a management letter to her client when she finds a possible violation in her client’s organization.
The City Council must then respond to her letter and either admit or rebut the allegation before the audit is published.
The city auditor published her findings, without giving the councilmembers an opportunity to defend against her findings.
These two council members were then ambushed by the auditor’s selected press preferences.
The auditor did a disservice to the councilmembers, the city council and the taxpayers. She should have been defending the public first against the Livermore general contractor who was about to be awarded a no bid contract.
All too often our public officials protect outsiders who are taking our money and or our jobs. We continue to export money and import workers.
The Fox Texas contractor violated state law when he withheld $6 million from Oakland small contractors for more than a year. The auditor’s findings did not sanction that contractor.
She did not perform an audit when this same contractor received $60 million worth of change orders for a $40 million contract.
The auditor could not find a violation when the city forgave a $17 million loan to a Hong Kong developer. Yet she managed to vilify two city councilmembers who were trying to build capacity in the Oakland community and retain tax dollars.
The Raiders violated state law when their $63.9 million loan grew to more than a $100 million debt to the City of Oakland, and they did not report an adverse court action.
A proper audit may have recovered more than a $198 million. Our auditor was too busy investigating two council members who were trying to do their job.
These council members have been damaged. They are due a public apology. They were not given due process.
The auditor served them up to public ridicule by ambush.
I do not know if these two council members violated the charter. I should be able to read their side of the story in the same audit that presented what are called facts, collected by what has proven to be inept professionals.
Joseph Debro is president of Bay Area Black Builders.