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SD City Staff Auditor Resigns

San Diego's long awaited outside audit of its 2003 financial statement is delayed yet again. The city's outside audit company, KPMG, has missed another deadline, pushing back the timetable for the city to get back into the bond market. Meanwhile the city's internal auditor John Torell has resigned. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

Torell is resigning less than two years into the job, though he originally said it would take 3 to 5 years to turn his office around. He replaced former auditor, Ed Ryan, who resigned abruptly when the city's pension scandal broke.

Torell says he's not leaving because of San Diego's persistent financial problems, but he is disturbed that under the new strong mayor form of government, the city auditor still doesn't have the independence needed to keep the city honest.

John Torell: I hold the mayor and his staff in the highest regard but it's taken them a while to accept the value of and the need for an independent auditor in this organization, a truly independent auditor.

Torell adds he doesn't see evidence the culture at city hall is more open than before

Torell: The bottom line: this survey they just completed where they asked people if they felt free to speak up and to be open and all, and the results of that didn't seem to be too good!

Torell returns to his home town of Santa Barbara to a job which doesn't offer any more money. Alison St John, KPBS News.

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