How does the Auditor serve the county?

We conduct evaluations (also called a 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. 

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 an evaluation?

When we conduct an evaluation we do the following types of work:

  • Interview program management, line staff, clients, and other stakeholders to find out things like: what is working well and what could be better. It’s common for us to conduct 50 or more interviews for a single audit. In addition to conducting interviews, 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. Through the course of each evaluation, we read hundreds of articles, legal documents, and other materials to get a solid understanding of the area we’re assessing. 

  • 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 spend many hours in the field for each audit, 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.