picture of crocuses
February crocuses.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I love Black History Month but I also struggle with the performative notion of a single month being devoted to it. Part of my work as an auditor and as a human being has been to engage in a process of self reflection and talking with others to better understand the impact of white supremacy and systemic racism, and to take actions to dismantle them. This month I have been reflecting on how daily life can be a practice in antiracism: The conversations we have with our children, our co-workers, our friends. Where we choose to invest our time and money. How we choose to recharge. For example, this month I talked to my kids about Black leaders like Leodis McDaniel, the new namesake for their high school (formerly Madison), and inventor Frederick McKinley Jones. I made purchases from Black-owned businesses. I re-read the Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler.

Though important, it is not enough to read books and have conversations about racism. We need to take action to address and dismantle systemic racism in our institutions and cultures. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it’s the presence of justice.” My commitment to you is to work towards that justice through audits that ensure county government is efficient, effective, equitable, transparent, and accountable to all who live in our county.

Most recently, we released our first audit report on the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on about my office’s annual report, the Good Government Hotline annual report, and the first meeting of the Auditor’s Community Advisory Committee.

Best,

Jennifer


2020 Annual Report Released2020 annual report cover page

This month, my office released its 2020 Annual Report. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, my team adapted how we fulfill our accountability function for our community. We limited our in-person observance of county operations as we followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and county Public Health. We took care to minimize disruptions to county programs - the last thing we would want to do is negatively impact the ability of county programs to focus on serving community members during a pandemic. I believe during unprecedented circumstances, we have supported government accountability while not impeding the county’s critical work to provide essential community services.  We also engaged in crucial reflection and discussion on our role in government, how the government systems we audit have contributed to systemic racism, and how our work may help them transform. You can read the full report here


Good Government Hotline logoGood Government Hotline Annual Report Released

In addition to my office’s annual report, we also released the Good Government Hotline annual report. The hotline provides Multnomah County employees and community members with a secure, confidential method for reporting suspected fraud, waste, or abuse of position. In 2020, we investigated or incorporated into audit 20 of the 80 county-related reports to the hotline, which at 25% of the reports, is the highest rate since 2016. To learn more, read the 2020 annual report (link to be added) on my website

To report suspected fraud, waste, or misuse of County resources, call 1-888-289-6839 or go to goodgovhotline.com.


Auditor's Community Advisory Committee

The Auditor’s Community Advisory Committee (ACAC) is an advisory body that’s responsible for providing suggestions and comments on the annual audit plan, and providing guidance on community engagement efforts on performance audits and my office’s work to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion concepts into audits. The committee members bring a variety of experiences and backgrounds to this work, and come from diverse communities in our county, including BIPOC and LGBTQ communities. Earlier this month, the committee had its first meeting. I was impressed with people’s insightful questions and interest in the auditing process. The committee has opted to meet every other month, rather than quarterly. At its next meeting, the committee will discuss the in-process cost recovery audit. 

 

I’m pleased to introduce and welcome our new Auditor’s Community Advisory Committee members:

 

Derek Collier

Alysia Cox

Brandon Goldner

Diane Odeh

Rachel Sowray

 

You can learn more about the Auditor’s Community Advisory Committee on their web page.


Helpful COVID-19 Links