Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I find myself struggling to write the introduction to this month's newsletter. This past week, the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the actions of a white woman towards Christian Cooper in Central Park have reflected the deep racism that still exists in our country. George Floyd’s death is not unique or unusual in our nation. We’ve seen these killings in other states, and we’ve seen them in our county - devastating families and communities, and sending a message that Black lives don’t matter. Black Lives Matter. It’s a gross understatement to say that we can and must do better. It is worthwhile in this moment to pause and reflect on what each of us can do to dismantle racism in this country. As Auditor, I am dedicated to pointing out root causes of system failures, and I think it would be a disservice if I did not say right now that a root cause of George Floyd’s death is white supremacy. Racism has permeated our laws and institutions since our nation’s founding.
Over the last few days, I’ve struggled to articulate how I’m feeling, but people around the nation who are far more eloquent than me have been stating these feelings well. I wanted to share with you the statement former President Obama made about George Floyd’s death:
In particular his comment about institutions is salient to me, given the mission of my office: The mission of the Auditor’s Office is to ensure that county government is efficient, effective, equitable, transparent, and accountable to all who live in our county. To actually achieve America’s promise in reality and not just in platitudes, we have to hold each other accountable for creating the society we want to live in.
Revised Audit Schedule Released
I issued my original audit schedule for 2020 in January. Since then, every person in our county has been impacted in ways large and small by the COVID-19 pandemic. My heart goes out in sympathy to those who have lost loved ones. I am full of gratitude to all county employees who participated in the county’s response to the pandemic, to all first responders, and to everyone who provided essential services from pharmacists to grocery store workers to delivery workers. Thank you, also, to everyone who performed a public service by staying home.
New Audit Committee Member Selected
I'm pleased to report that my office received a number of impressive applications to serve on the Board of County Commissioners’ Audit Committee. After interviewing a number of qualified and talented applicants, I recommended Shani Harris-Bagwell to serve on the Audit Committee, and am excited that the Board of County Commissioners approved her appointment to the committee.
Shani is a local consultant, actor, caregiver, and activist. (Also, she's a great cook!) She has volunteered on local advisory committees and task forces, with work related to budgeting, pricing, and revenues, as well as several nonprofit boards. Shani cares deeply about her community and is thrilled to be on the Audit Committee.
Helpful COVID-19 Links
If you would like information on how to stay healthy, slow the spread of coronavirus, or how to report any issues, please visit https://multco.us/novel-coronavirus-covid-19.
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.
If you are at work and your employer does not seem to be following public health directives, you can report that to Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Division.
This page contains resources to support our communities as we experience the COVID-19 pandemic and get through this together.
Learn about the County’s plan to apply for re-opening