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Internal auditor says previous audits sugar coated

San Diego city council accepted a report from the city's internal auditor that revealed massive misinformation came out of the previous auditor's office. The lack of internal controls led to decisions that contributed to the city's billion dollar pension deficit.
KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

The council struggled with the question of how to avoid getting sugar coated information about the state of the city's finances in the future. Internal auditor John Torell said one key is to remove undue political pressure on the auditor's office.

Torell: "You could have the greatest processes in the world, and if I was told, hey this is a little harsh you should gloss over the pension situation, what am I gonna do? I know what I would do, but it's the control environment, it's the tone at the top is what you're speaking about."

Torell suggested several options to strengthen the auditor's independence, such as making the job an elected position. However, the mayor's office prefers to create a climate of openness where employees can speak freely without fear of retribution. At city hall, Alison St John, KPBS news.

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