Palo Alto selects new city auditor

City Council set to approve contract with Berkeley audit manager Harriet Richardson

Palo Alto has concluded its search for a new city auditor, selecting a veteran from the City of Berkeley to fill the vacancy.

The City Council will consider on Monday appointing Harriet Richardson to serve as the new city auditor, which is one of four positions that is selected directly by the council (the other three are city manager, city attorney and city clerk). Richardson will take over a position that has been vacant since Jim Pelletier resigned in September to lead the American Center of Government Auditing.

Senior Performance Auditor Houman Boussina has been leading the department as an acting city auditor since Pelletier's departure.

If the council approves at its April 7 meeting a recommendation from its Council Appointed Officers Committee, Richardson will start her new job on April 15. She will receive a salary of $167,500, according to a report the city released Wednesday afternoon.

The report notes that Richardson was selected after a "national search" and interviews with numerous finalists. It cites Richardson's "extensive experience" in government auditing, including in Berkeley, Washington state, Atlanta and San Francisco. Her most recent position is with Berkeley, where she has been serving as audit manager.

The Office of the City Auditor is charged with conducting performance audits and annual reviews of city departments and releasing the annual Service Efforts and Accomplishments report, which looks at performance results of each department over a five-year period.


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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Isn't the current City Manager a product of the People's Republic of Berkeley, also?

Got to wonder just how hard the City looked for a new auditor. The last one wasn't much in the way of delivering anything of value--got to wonder if the bar for non-performance has been set?

The position of Auditor could be one of the most important in the City's check-and-balance scheme. It's hard to see that that point-of-view has been prevalent in the last few auditor selections.

Wonder how long this one will last?

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Posted by Part time PR
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2014 at 11:15 pm

A couple of auditors I remember also served as PR flacks. They told us how wonderful Palo Alto is.
Mr Keene selects people who will obey, and admire is leadership. We'll see if this new auditor does it too.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 3, 2014 at 4:39 am

The City Auditor isn't hired by and doesn't report to Keene (although I'm sure Keene would prefer it that way). He/she reports to the Council. If you actually read through the long and boring audit reports, you would see that the auditor's office has reported on a lot of problems in the City. You have to think beyond the report to the root of the problems and also look behind the spin that Keene and his lackeys put on the issues identified in the reports. How many times will the council accept "limited resources" as an excuse for waste and abuse in the city.

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 3, 2014 at 5:47 am

People's Republic of Berkeley? PR flacks? Lackeys? Keep 'em coming guys.

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