Letter to the editor: City auditor’s role

To the editor:

The city auditor has highlighted persistent issues with collections in Lawrence, and it is disappointing to see the reaction of our city manager. It is clear that the audit function is not well understood by leadership within the city.

In a recent story Mr. Markus justifies his recommendation to eliminate the city auditor position by saying that the auditor, Michael Eglinski, “lists specific recommendations, staff deals with them, moves on and waits for him to reveal some other shortcomings.” Further, Mr. Markus states he is comfortable eliminating the auditor position because it is his opinion that there are better ways to evaluate the city’s performance.

This is where the audit function is misunderstood. It is not the responsibility of the auditor to develop procedures. In fact, it would compromise the auditor’s independence if he were to provide input on addressing the issues that are discovered. It is the auditor’s responsibility to review procedures, test compliance and ensure that employees are complying with the rules. If problems are found, it is management’s responsibility to remediate noncompliance and develop new processes to address weaknesses.

If staff “deals with them, moves on and waits for him to reveal some other shortcomings,” I would conclude that “staff’ is not taking seriously any compliance issues that are highlighted. Based on what has been reported, I must concur with Mr. Eglinski’s recommendation to form an audit committee composed of commissioners and members of the public to provide third-party oversight.

Rob Chestnut,