Dear Friends and Neighbors,
In my July newsletter, I shared that my office had presented to the Board of County Commissioners at the first reading of an ordinance to protect the County
Auditor’s operation of the Good Government Hotline. People in Multnomah County can confidentially report to the hotline when they suspect inefficiencies, waste, fraud, and abuse of position in county government.
I am pleased to say that the Board of County Commissioners adopted the ordinance at their August 3 meeting. I am grateful to the community members who supported this new law.
I want to especially thank past and current members of my Community Advisory Committee for their support of the proposed Charter amendment, and I want to thank my team for developing the hotline text together for the Charter, and then pivoting to work together on the ordinance.
August started with the ordinance’s adoption, and the month ended with my office issuing the audit report Joint Office of Homeless Services: Providers were frustrated with contract management and communication. During the course of the audit, providers told us that the Joint Office did not consistently pay them on time and that they grappled with incomplete, untimely contracts. Fewer than half of the homeless service providers we surveyed during the audit felt that the Joint Office was doing a good job communicating policies and system goals. The vast majority of direct services for those experiencing homelessness are provided by nonprofit organizations, so it is critically important that the Joint Office support them with timely payments and clear communication.
We recognize that Joint Office staff and providers alike are under significant pressure. We found that to reduce this stress and support overall performance, the Joint Office needs to quickly improve its communications to providers and how it manages contracts with them. County leadership agreed with the majority of our recommendations, and we will assess the status of those recommendations next year.
We will publish a related report about the Joint Office this fall, and are also preparing reports for you on the county’s budget process and the library’s work environment. Right now, those two reports are going through our quality control process, where we fact-check every statement in the report to be sure it is an accurate reflection of the evidence we have.
We want you to trust our work and be able to use it to advocate for improvements in your county government.
Multnomah County Auditor
Joint Office of Homeless Services Audit Report
On August 23, my office released the audit report Joint Office of Homeless Services: Providers are frustrated with contract management and communication. The report is focused on the perspectives of homeless services providers and Joint Office staff.
The full audit report is available on our website here.
In addition to the Partners in Diversity: Joint Asian Pacific Islander and Black CRG event (pictured below), my office connected with the community at multiple events this August.
Word is Bond: On August 4, Management Auditor Mical Yohannes joined Word is Bond for their annual Community Exhibition and Showcase at Lewis and Clark College. The Rising Leaders Program is a paid leadership program for young Black men in the Portland area. Ambassadors shared reflections on this year’s theme "We are Freedom Dreamers", their internship placements, group activities and trainings, and there was a sneak peek of the documentary from the third year ambassadors' recent trip to Ghana. Congratulations to Word is Bond youth ambassadors for successfully completing this summer’s Rising Leaders Program!
Foster-Powell Center Street Mural: On August 19, my office enjoyed the 2023 Center Street Mural Project event to increase safety awareness for our Foster-Powell neighborhood by painting the street corner SE Center and 67th, near Kern Park. Constituent Relations and DEI Engagement Specialist, Raymond De Silva and Management Auditor, Mical Yohannes volunteered in the community led project. You can view a highlight video reel here.
Partners in Diversity: On August 22, Constituent Relations and DEI Engagement Specialist, Raymond De Silva and Management Auditor, Mical Yohannes represented our office at the inaugural Joint Asian Pacific Islander and Black Community Resource Group event at Oregon State University. Civic leaders Albert Lee, Executive Director of the Oregon Advocacy Commissions Office and Temmecha Turner, Director of Community Diversity Relations at Oregon State University presented how cultivating deeper community relationships is a pathway for cultural change to transform government and higher education.