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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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Local

City of Long Beach
Measure AAA - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passed

92,517 votes yes (71.02%)

37,752 votes no (28.98%)

100% of precincts reporting (219/219).

Shall the City Charter be amended to authorize the City Auditor to conduct performance audits, defined as financial, compliance, efficiency, economy, operational, or program audits or studies, of any City department, board of commission?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

CHARTER AMENDMENT TO AUTHORIZE THE CITY AUDITOR TO CONDUCT PERFORMANCE AUDITS AND TO CLARIFY THE CITY AUDITOR’S ACCESS TO CITY RECORDS

On August 7, 2018, the Long Beach City Council placed Measure “AAA” on the ballot. The measure proposes to amend Long Beach City Charter Sections 803 and 806, relating to the duties of the City Auditor and clarifying the City Auditor’s access to City records.

Long Beach City Charter Section 803, “Duties of the City Auditor,” currently provides that the City Auditor “shall be the general auditor of the City and of every department, commission and office thereof.” The proposed measure would specifically authorize the City Auditor to “conduct performance audits of City departments, boards, commissions and offices. Performance audits are defined as independent assessments of programs, functions, operations, or management designed to enhance performance, cost savings, efficiency or service improvements.”

Long Beach City Charter Section 806, “Copies of Reports and Contracts,” currently provides for the City Auditor to be provided copies of City reports and contracts within ten days after execution, to be furnished with a copy of all reports of a financial nature prepared by any department, commission, office or agency of the City, and to have the right of immediate access to all financial records of the City in the performance of his or her duties. The proposed measure would provide that the City Auditor “shall have timely access to all City records including but not limited to financial records, contracts, documents, systems, files, property and other internal records, unless restricted or prohibited by law.”

Measure “AAA” requires simple majority approval of Long Beach voters to pass. If Measure “AAA” does not pass, the current Charter provision will remain in effect.

A “Yes” vote will approve Measure “AAA”.

A “No” vote will not approve Measure “AAA”.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

YES ON MEASURE AAA – Strengthening City Auditor Authority

Join Mayor Robert Garcia, City Auditor Laura Doud, and your Police and Firefighters and Vote Yes on Measure AAA.

The job of the City Auditor is to protect Long Beach taxpayers against waste, fraud, and abuse of City services and funds. This Charter Amendment will strengthen the City Auditor’s effectiveness by eliminating Charter provisions that are ambiguous.

This Amendment does two things:

First, it authorizes the City Auditor to conduct performance audits of the operations and management of all departments, boards, agencies, commissions, and offices.

Performance audits identify cost savings and make recommendations to improve City services. While the City Auditor has conducted performance audits in recent years that have saved valuable city funds, the authority to do so needs to be strengthened to ensure we do not limit the City Auditor’s authority to examine all City operations.

Secondly, this Amendment explicitly authorizes the City Auditor to access and examine all City records needed to conduct financial and performance audits.

Those records include contracts, documents, files, and internal department records that are not otherwise confidential by law. Current Charter language is ambiguous and could limit the City Auditor’s access to undefined “financial records.”

This Amendment eliminates that ambiguity.

This Amendment is simple and straightforward. It eliminates 100-year old ambiguities and makes the duties of the City Auditor and their access to all City records crystal clear. This Amendment aligns the City Auditor’s functions with government auditing standards, practices, and policies found in many California jurisdictions, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.

Passage of this Amendment will enable the City Auditor to more effectively perform their job as an objective and independent watchdog of public resources and assures Long Beach taxpayer money is spent efficiently, appropriately, and always with the best quality of service in mind.

Join us in voting Yes on Measure AAA!

ROBERT GARCIA
Mayor of Long Beach

LAURA L. DOUD
City Auditor of Long Beach

REX PRITCHARD
President, Long Beach Firefighters Association

JAMES FOSTER
President, Long Beach Police Officers Association

Arguments AGAINST

City Hall wants to strip the Auditor of the power of oversight.

The City Council crossed out the word “IMMEDIATE” from the Auditor’s right to access to all documents and substituted “TIMELY”. “Timely” means NOT IMMEDIATE. We must maintain the warrant power of the office for full access, without delay, for all documents from any department, commission, committee, or position of the City.

The Auditor is elected by the people to be an independent watchdog on the actions of the government, a Check and Balance for truth and accountability.

Instead of an auditor we could get an enabler, a political lapdog. The Mayor and City Management could inadvertently misplace any report, record, or document. Shall we gut the City Auditor’s office of power and purpose and turn it into a rubber-stamping shill, supporting an invisible government?

It is your choice. Shall we amend the charter to remove a power of the Auditor’s office which protects the people from possible corruption, waste, favoritism, secret meetings, undisclosed plans, graft and fraud?

The elected office of City Auditor serves the People not the staff and politicians.

NO TO GUTTING OF THE CITY AUDITOR’S OFFICE.

JUAN E. OVALLE
Outreach Director, People of Long Beach

ROBERT E. FOX
Executive Director of the Council of Neighborhood Organizations

Replies to Arguments FOR

This Measure will undermine the Auditor of the power of oversight.

What is the City trying to get away with?

The Auditor already has access to all documents.

This Amendment will strike out the word “IMMEDIATE” substitute with “TIMELY” for access to all documents.

Anyone who has tried to get information from the City of Long Beach knows that “timely”, means at the City’s Will. Small things, one hour, large issues, it could be months. The Auditor already has access to all financial documents. The auditor is required to stay vigilant for the people and ascertain that the City is complying with all reporting and financial obligations. We must maintain the WARRANT power of the office for everything without delay from any department, commission, committee or position of the City.

The Auditor is elected by the people to be an independent nonpartisan watchdog on the actions of the City, a protector of public trust and confidence in government, not a rubber-stamping bureaucrat.

It is your choice. Shall we amend the charter to remove the Power of the Auditor, or will we let possible corruption, secret meetings, undisclosed plans, and fraud flourish in our City?

The elected office of City Auditor serves the People not the staff and politicians.

VOTE NO ON MEASURE AAA

JUAN E. OVALLE
Director of Outreach, People of Long Beach

ROBERT E. FOX
Executive Director of the Council of Neighborhood Organizations

JOHN R. DEATS
Neighborhood Activist

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Vote Yes on Measure AAA and Strengthen the City Auditor

We are confident that Long Beach voters will read and understand the plain language of Measure AAA and realize that the argument Against Measure AAA is full of falsehoods.

Measure AAA will not gut the City Auditor’s authority. City Auditor Doud fully endorses Measure AAA as it strengthens – not diminishes – the Office’s oversight authority.

Measure AAA will not remove the City Auditor’s ability to obtain certified copies of all City contracts. That Charter provision remains unchanged. Measure AAA takes it one step further by allowing the City Auditor to examine ALL CITY RECORDS, not just contracts and financial records.

Measure AAA requires the City Auditor to issue all audit reports to the Mayor, City Council and City Clerk to ensure that those who are responsible for City operations are aware of audit findings and recommendations. Opponents falsely claim that the City Clerk reports directly to the public. Rather, the Charter clearly states the City Clerk is hired by and serves at the pleasure of the Council.

The City Auditor is elected by and reports directly to Long Beach residents. The City Auditor posts all audit reports – which are public records – online for the public. Neither the Mayor nor management can bury audit reports.

Measure AAA will strengthen the City Auditor’s role as an independent watchdog by authorizing the Office to: 1) to access all city records and 2) to conduct PERFORMANCE AUDITS OF ALL CITY OPERATIONS to identify cost savings and improve City services.

ROBERT GARCIA
Long Beach Mayor

LAURA L. DOUD
Long Beach City Auditor

JAMES T. FOSTER
President, Long Beach Police Officers Assn

REX PRITCHARD
President, Long Beach Firefighters

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