The Auditor’s job is to find out how well county government is working and recommend how it could be better.

The Auditor’s Office serves the public interest by finding out how well the county government is working, recommending improvements, and reporting to the public on our work. We adhere to high ethical standards; use an equity lens and a trauma-informed approach continually in our work; and value accountability, inclusion, and equity, particularly racial equity. Our approach to our work includes:

  • Prioritizing our responsibility to serve the public interest. We act in integrity and adhere to high ethical standards. 

  • Approaching our work through an fact-based, nonpartisan, and non-ideological lens. This means we are not biased toward a particular outcome in our work. We follow the interviews, the research, the onsite observations, and the data. We follow the facts to their logical conclusion.

  • Protecting and conserving the government resources entrusted to us.

  • Maintaining impartiality to ensure that reasonable people can trust our opinions, findings, conclusions, judgments, and recommendations.

  • Maintaining structural independence. Our independence means that we answer to people who live in the county rather than to elected officials. We do not work for or have a reporting line to the County Chair, County Sheriff, or County District Attorney, but we strive to maintain close working relationships with these and other county leaders. 

How does the Auditor serve the county?

We conduct performance audits and special studies. We also run the Good Government Hotline to help catch and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse of position  - and to protect whistleblowers. We have an Ombudsperson who can help the public when they are having challenges with county programs.

Through our work, we:

  • See and acknowledge the value and importance of county programs, and the dedication of county employees. Look critically to identify barriers and obstacles that impede the county’s mission to help people. And after careful deliberation in our office, and an intense fact-checking process, we raise the problems that need to be fixed.  

  • Elevate employee voices. Employees are often the first to know where a system needs to change so that people can be served better. Our in-depth work often results in validating employee concerns and lifting them up.

  • Give voice to problems that people may feel most comfortable ignoring. The Auditor’s work is critically important because it is only by being honest about the problems we face that we can truly improve our government for all of us.

What do you do during a performance audit or investigation?

We often do the following types of work during audits and investigations:

  • Interview program management, line staff, clients, and other stakeholders. In addition to conducting interviews with a trauma-informed approach, our staff’s skills include having difficult conversations, facilitating focus groups, and conducting qualitative analysis to ensure that the themes that emerge from our conversations help guide our work.

  • Research applicable laws, regulations, and best practices for programs like the one we’re assessing. We read all of the program materials we can - everything from history to strategic plans to internal studies.  

  • Gather and analyze data from a variety of sources, such as county financial records, program results data, and surveys we may develop specifically for an evaluation. Our staff have significant experience working with a wide range of data types and database systems, as well as in analyzing data for validity, reliability, and completeness.

  • Observe programs in action. We may spend many hours in the field, conducting interviews, going on ride-alongs, and otherwise finding out what things are really like on the ground. Spending a lot of time where the work is happening helps us understand the challenges a program is facing and identify ways to help make things better for county employees and the clients they serve.

  • Communicate. In writing, over the phone, and in person - communication is a big part of our job. The standards required by County Charter direct us to let county management know as early as we can about any significant issues we’re seeing so that they can be corrected quickly, including unsafe work conditions, work environments where employees may be experiencing discrimination or harassment, and substantial mismanagement.