People like scapegoats, and sometimes audit findings can encourage them to thump someone. Even though the blame may be difficult to assign, there are some elected officials, reporters, and bloggers who want to attack someone—the agency head, the program manager, or “government bureaucrats.” Sometimes the biggest barrier to solving a problem is the blame game.… Continue reading Context

Feds are from Venus, States are from Mars, Locals are from…Earth

I have always harbored this comic book image of federal, state, and local auditors banding together to fight against mismanagement and entropy, like  DC Comics’ League of Justice  or Marvel’s Avengers. After all these years, despite watching a few of those fantasy movies, that performance audit scenario has faded. We may all follow the same… Continue reading Feds are from Venus, States are from Mars, Locals are from…Earth

Seeking Sustainability

State law required an audit of an agency with the mission of restoring Oregon’s watersheds and salmon. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) had been spending a share of lottery funds for over a decade toward its mission when we took on an audit of their program. The restoration mission in Oregon is daunting but… Continue reading Seeking Sustainability

Audit Story: Annexations

Today, I see East Portland still afflicted by the concerns raised in an audit from thirty-five years ago. The very first audit I worked on reported the financial impacts of Portland’s annexation efforts. In the early 1980s the city initiated an effort to extend its boundary to add about 125,000 citizens. The multi-government initiative was… Continue reading Audit Story: Annexations

The Long View of Auditors

You’ve heard the old saw that those who ignore the past are condemned to repeat it. The same goes for audits. Ignore our recommendations and the waste, fraud, or risk exposure will continue. Auditors are historians. We study the past, gather evidence, make causal connections, and document our research, but unlike most historians, we also… Continue reading The Long View of Auditors

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