Palo Alto City Auditor Lynda Brouchoud resigns

Brouchoud to step down next month to take care of her newborn son; resignation adds to city's long list of vacancies

Palo Alto's City Auditor Lynda Brouchoud will step down from her position next month, leaving the city with another gaping hole in its leadership team.

Brouchoud, who joined the city in September 2008, went on maternity leave last October and recently gave birth to a son, has resigned to take care of her family, the city announced Tuesday afternoon. Her office is one of four positions, along with city manager, city attorney and city clerk, that gets appointed by the City Council.

Brouchoud's resignation comes at a time when the city is already wrestling with a slew of vacancies in its leadership positions. The council is currently looking for a replacement for retired City Attorney Gary Baum. The heads of the city's Library, Public Works, Fire and Human Resources departments have also resigned or retired over the past year.

During her brief but productive tenure in the City Auditor's Office, Brouchoud spearheaded several audits that city officials said resulted in significant financial savings. These included critical reviews of the city's travel expenses, vehicle usage and ambulance-billing service. Her office also won awards from the Association of Government Accountants for its annual Services and Accomplishments reports, which analyze service levels in each department and measure citizen opinion about various public services.

"While this was a difficult personal decision, I am pleased to leave the city on a high note, with a solid record of valuable contributions and a team of highly dedicated and qualified staff," Brouchoud said in a statement. "It has been an honor to serve the City of Palo Alto and its residents."

While some of the recently departed officials -- including Baum and former Public Works Director Glenn Roberts -- faced occasional criticism from the council before they retired, Brouchoud has been routinely praised during council meetings for her reports.

In announcing her resignation, Mayor Sid Espinosa said the city's "very grateful" to Brouchoud and her department for its "excellent and diligent work."

"During her tenure, Lynda has helped us become more effective and efficient, and has provided recommendations that will help Palo Alto operate better for decades to come," Espinosa said in a statement. "We will miss her, but we applaud her commitment to her family and we wish her the best."

City officials plan to begin the recruitment process for Brouchoud's replacement before her scheduled resignation on April 18. Mike Edmonds, who was appointed acting city auditor while Brouchoud was on maternity leave, will continue to head the department until her permanent successor is appointed, the city announced.

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Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2011 at 10:02 am

Brouchoud won't be missed. She didn't make any mistakes, but neither did she shake up any departments so that significant cost savings could be seen.

> "During her tenure, Lynda has helped us become more effective
> and efficient,

Really? Wonder if the Mayor could identify just three things that Brouchoud's office achieved via their investigations that resulted in more City government "efficiency"?

This auditor did not even think about auditing the Police and/or Fire Departments, or the Utility. All three of these departments have very large budgets, and are long overdue for audits.

Well .. thanks for coming .. maybe the next Auditor will have more backbone.

Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Southgate
on Mar 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Is is ethical to take 5 months (paid?) maternity leave, knowing you're going to quit as soon as your maternity leave is used up? My wife and I considered it, but decided it wouldn't be right.

Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Dan - not the first time or the last time this has happened.

You don't know if that was her plan all along or not. People are allowed to change their minds.

Like this comment
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Just make sure you do a TSA type frisk when she leaves the building...

Also have IT disable her access to the computers, especially anything involving money...

And you might want IT and another accountant do an audit history.

Many accountants are in the Crossbar Hotel and cities ( read TAXPAYERS ) are out the money taken by long term embezzlement....

Think of a certain city that rings a BELL......

Like this comment
Posted by Is it a PR job?
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 9, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I attended a meeting where she spoke and it sounded like a PR job for the city. Everything was wonderful, mostly she reported on a national survey of cities and we were just great compared to others. Wouldn't have known she was an auditor.
Is it possible that is part of the job definition? what is the job definition?

Like this comment
Posted by who cares
a resident of Triple El
on Mar 9, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Agree wjith the above posters, don't know what if anything she did was of value in creating a more efficient government organization. The position is basically a $200,000 a year PR position for the city council to let taxpayers know how great a job they believe they are doing. At least she had enough common sense to join the exodus from this dysfunctional organization. Seems anytime city staff takes time away from this mess they immediately announce their resignation upon return. Seems to speak volumes about the quality of the city management organization and staff morale.

Like this comment
Posted by PA father
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm

... last I recall, Brouchoud did a vehicle audit that took on Public-Works that saved PA over 2 million. Folks probably don't remember, but it's posted on the PA website along with the full report. If you really want to become educated, go take a look ...

Like this comment
Posted by CHinCider
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

To "PA father" -

Better take another look at the real facts behind the vehicle audit and the supposed $2 million "savings". In reality that was a one time deferral of vehicle replacement costs that had already been initiated by the Public Works Department before the audit even commenced. This was simply a one time savings to help balance the budget in that particular fiscal year. The money will still need to be spent in a future year.

It became politically correct to discredit Public Works and attempt to show value for the Auditor's Office. The reality is rather different.

Like this comment
Posted by J94301
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2011 at 11:07 am

Government needs more people like Brouchoud. If every level had more auditors and good auditors, there would be far less waste and much more accountability. I'd like to see more of my tax dollars spent on government auditing and less on some other areas, that's for sure. Too bad they couldn't retain her, major loss for this City. It seems there are a lot of areas that need auditing so this is going to be a setback.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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