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San Diego Appoints Citizen Watchdogs

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

 

The city of San Diego now has three citizen watchdogs who will sit on a new audit committee to keep an eye on the city’s finances. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

 

 San Diego city council spent over 2 hours grilling several seasoned CPAs, before  picking 3 independent citizens for the new audit committee.

 

Councilman Kevin Faulconer is the audit committee’s chair 

 

Faulconer: "You know sometimes people say the audit committee is not the most glamorous committee, but it is some of the most important work that we are doing at the city, to ensure that the money the city of San Diego is spending is being spent where it’s supposed to be spent."

 

The new citizen audit committee members include Stephen Grant, who manages compliance at SAIC.

The second is Charles Sellers, who’s been a CPA for  25 years -  some with Ernst and Young - all of them in San Diego.

 

Sellers : "Having lived here since I was nine, it really breaks my heart to read people in other cities who don’t know us calling us, “Enron by the Sea.” We have to restore the public’s faith and integrity both in the city’s financial statement and its position and in the people making those representations. "

 

The third  citizen watchdog is Steve McKnight, a recent arrival in San Diego, who’s been an auditor for some of the largest accounting firms in the country.

 

The audit committee is part of a delicate balance of powers to keep the city on the straight and narrow financially. The mayor appoints an auditor, but the city council has the power to fire that auditor,  if the audit committee  recommends it.

 

Alison St John, KPBS news.

 

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