Measure D, San Diego’s Audit Reform, Appears To Pass
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Measure D, one of the ballot measures before San Diego voters this primary election, seeks to end a stalemate surrounding the city's independent auditor.
Voters appear to have approved it Tuesday, with almost 80% voting yes.
The initiative would amend the city charter so members of the San Diego City Council, not the mayor, would have the power to appoint the city auditor. The auditor is responsible for investigating waste, fraud and abuse at the city.
San Diego's last auditor, Eduardo Luna, resigned 1½ years ago after it became clear Mayor Kevin Faulconer would not appoint him to a second 10-year term. The position has been filled by an interim auditor ever since.
Faulconer last year sought to appoint longtime city employee DeeDee Alari to fill the post, but Councilman Scott Sherman, who chairs the council's Audit Committee, tabled her nomination. Sherman's office ended up crafting Measure D, saying it was an inherent conflict of interest for the mayor to select the person responsible for investigating the city departments that he or she controls.
"So many times we have found out and saved millions of dollars because of performance audits done by the auditor, and you want that person and that office to be completely independent of that body they're overseeing," Sherman said.
Under the reforms in Measure D, the Audit Committee would forward at least three nominees to the full City Council. Council members would then make the final hiring decision. The measure would also limit the auditor's service to a maximum of two five-year terms.
Despite his failure to secure approval for his first choice as auditor, Faulconer has endorsed Measure D, as have all the City Council members. It needs a simple majority to pass, and has attracted no organized opposition.
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