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San Diego City Auditor Resigns Ahead Of Term Expiration

San Diego City Auditor Eduardo Luna speaks with KPBS in an interview, Aug. 16...

Photo by Nicholas McVicker

Above: San Diego City Auditor Eduardo Luna speaks with KPBS in an interview, Aug. 16, 2018.

San Diego Independent Auditor Eduardo Luna submitted his resignation to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the City Council Wednesday, saying he will leave the post on Sept. 28.

Luna said he has accepted an auditor position with the city of Beverly Hills, and that he would start the new job Oct. 1.

Luna started the City Auditor's Office from scratch, and was appointed to a 10-year term in 2009 after city voters formalized his position in the city charter. He said in an interview with KPBS that the job was challenging at times because city staffers had to undergo a "culture shift."

"It was introducing this new type of auditing, and trying to really be value added," he said. "It took a lot of skill being able to work with the administration and gain their trust that we were there to help."

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Luna has had public disagreements with city leadership, and in 2014 filed a claim for more than $60,000 for reimbursement of legals fees. Those expenses were incurred after former Mayor Jerry Sanders authorized investigations into Luna and his office — probes Luna alleged were retaliation for unfavorable reports issued against city departments.

But over the years Luna won the confidence of some city officials, and his office has won awards from professional organizations for its reports on emergency medical services, pothole repair and pedestrian safety.

Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, chair of the council's Audit Committee, said in a statement she was "grateful for the hundreds of performance audits that have resulted in stronger internal controls and more effective and streamlined operations within city departments, such as the recent audit of the water billing department."

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One legacy Luna leaves behind is a follow-up process by which his office checks back with city departments to ensure they are implementing the recommendations they agreed to on the timeline they promised.

"We didn't want to have an audit office that produced reports and then went on a shelf," he said. "We trust, but verify. So if someone says, 'We implemented the recommendation,' we actually want to see proof that in fact change has occurred."

Luna could have been reappointed to a second 10-year term next year, but Mayor Kevin Faulconer this summer had already initiated a nationwide search for a replacement.

San Diego Independent Auditor Eduardo Luna submitted his resignation to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the City Council Wednesday, saying he will leave the post on Sept. 28.

This story has been updated with comments from Mr. Luna.

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