Bill 12-053, the recently approved charter amendment ("City Council Approves Neutered Audit Bill," Mobtown Beat, Aug. 15) that will require audits of 13 major city agencies at least once every four years that will go before voters in November is ineffective and inefficient by design.
Reporter Edward Ericson Jr. rightly quoted my assessment of the bill as "weak." This conclusion is based on over three months' study of internal auditing policies and practices among the 26 largest cities in the U.S. and review of professional auditing standards and recommendations.
This bill is worse than weak. It does not reflect evidence-based policymaking and disregards standard internal auditing policies, procedures, practices and professional recommendations. It also introduces further waste and inefficiency, given that compared with other large cities the Department of Audits already is amongst the country's most highly staffed and funded.
Regrettably the current bill fails to address the key underlying issue that got us to our derelict state of internal auditing in the first place; ensuring the City Auditor's office and the auditing function are free from all potential impairments to independence such as political interference or influence, as required by Government Auditing Standards and the Baltimore City Charter. Absent any provision to enhance and expand the City Auditor's autonomy-such as the establishment of an independent audit committee, a formal annual audit plan, and a change in the organizational structure that currently requires the City Auditor to be appointed by, report to, and potentially be dismissed by the City Comptroller-this watch-dog day of August has collapsed in the heat.