Slide from 6/16/21 Juneteenth virtual celebration, presented by Multnomah County Employees of Color Resource Group, the AFSCME Black Caucus, and Local 88.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The mission of my office is to ensure that Multnomah County government is efficient, effective, equitable, transparent, and fully accountable to all who live in our county. I am passionate about holding government accountable because I believe governments have a pivotal role in dismantling racism and other systems of oppression. And an important way for auditors to help call government to account is by shining a light on our history.

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is a holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of enslaved African American in the westernmost slave state of Texas. In one sense, Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery, but it’s also a holiday that calls out a painful truth: It took two years after slavery had been abolished for U.S. soldiers to bring the word of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to Galveston, Texas.

Along with nearly 160 others, on June 16 I attended a virtual Juneteenth celebration put on by the Multnomah County Employees of Color Resource Group, the AFSCME Black Caucus, and Local 88. The event was an amazing mix of joyous music, poetry, and critical education about U.S. history. Speakers reminded me that Juneteenth is a holiday during which White people like me should reflect on our nation’s racist past and commit themselves to helping build a better future. I spent time on Juneteenth reflecting on my responsibility and commitment to being anti-racist and to dismantling white supremacy.

June is also Pride month. On June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village. Fed up with discrimination and police harassment, patrons and neighborhood residents stayed on site. This was an organic uprising, sparked by trans and cisgendered women of color. A riot ensued that was a galvanizing moment in the movement for LGBTQIA+ rights. This year Portland Pride festivities were held primarily online. My family and I enjoyed participating virtually in this year’s pride parade.

June provides us with important historical lessons about our nation’s past, which is sadly rooted in white supremacy. Understanding this truth does not diminish who we are as a nation; in fact it will lead us to a place of greater strength and resilience. June tells us about the strength and resilience of communities that have had to fight for rights that we all should enjoy because of our shared humanity. It’s time for us all to summon that strength and resilience as we work together towards a more just and loving world - a community of safety, trust, and belonging.

Earlier this month, I released the results of a survey we issued about county employees’ experiences during the pandemic. My team is currently busy working on the next phase of our audit on the county’s response to the pandemic, specifically contact tracing and cost recovery. In addition, we are continuing work on our audit of county jails and are starting an audit of living conditions for clients of county housing services. I look forward to sharing with you what we have learned from these audits.

Best,

Jennifer


Contributing to the auditing profession’s improvement

In addition to supporting the accountability, transparency, and equity of county government, our office strives to help the government auditing profession improve. One way we do that is by sharing how we try to build a focus on equity and inclusion into our audit processes. For example, Principal Auditor Caroline Zavitkovski wrote an article for the Association of Local Government Auditors Quarterly this summer about our experiences developing, testing, and issuing surveys to all county employees and to adult care home providers. We made sure that survey testers included employees that identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. These surveys were critical to learning about people's experiences during the pandemic and provided an important way to bring people into the audit process so that their lived experiences could inform our recommendations.


Welcome to our new auditor, Dorian Pacheco!

Earlier this year, I had an opening for a management auditor. The hiring process was extremely competitive, with strong applicants who had unique, deep experiences and knowledge. I am pleased to introduce our new auditor, Dorian Pacheco. Dorian joined the office at the end of April. She holds a master's degree in public administration, and her background includes multilingual community outreach and engagement, legislative advocacy, and program evaluation. Dorian is working with Principal Auditor Caroline Zavitkovski on our contact tracing audit. Along with Mandi Hood, our Constituent Relations Specialist, Dorian is a subject matter expert for all of our audits on community engagement, equity, and inclusion.To learn more about Dorian or my other talented staff members (or me!), please check out our brief biographies


Cooling Centers

The recent heat wave was just the latest challenge we have all endured. I appreciate all of the county employees and community volunteers - including our own Principal Auditor Fran Davison - who worked at cooling centers to provide people with a respite from the record-breaking temperatures.We've made it through an unprecedented heat wave but the summer isn't over yet. This is a good webpage to bookmark to keep up to date on cooling center locations and hours during hot weather and tips for staying cool. 


Helpful COVID-19 Links

 
  • Unfortunately, some communities have experienced acts of racism and xenophobia because of the myths surrounding COVID-19; this county site has information about how to report discrimination and find support.