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Council Gives Prelimary Approval to Audit Amendment

The amendment would have to be approved by Aug. 20 to appear on November's general election ballot.

The Baltimore City Council gave preliminary approval to a compromise charter amendment that would require the city to perform audits of 13 major city agencies every four years.

Initially the proposed amendment called for audits of 14 city agencies every two years, but amendments proposed by Councilman Robert Curran were tacked on and reduced the frequency and the number of agencies to be audited.

The bill is expected to pass on a final vote at a council meeting on Aug. 13 in time for the amendment to appear on November’s general election ballot. City agencies haven't been routinely audited in decades.

Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who abstained from voting on the bill, said the proposed amendment isn’t perfect but that her constituents should be allowed to at least vote on how often audits are performed.

"I would’ve preferred every two years required for an audit of major city agencies, but we didn’t have the votes for that," Clarke said.

Clarke was able to claim one victory when she used a parliamentary procedure to put to a vote an amendment that would have only required the city to conduct a performance audit. That amendment was defeated—and performance and financial audits will be required if voters approve the charter amendment.

Councilman Bill Henry, who also supported performing audits every two years, disputed that the bill was a compromise. He said it was a deal to appease Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

"From the feedback I’ve received [residents] barely understand why we're not doing it every year and they certainly thought every two years was reasonable. We’re compromising with the administration," Henry said. "The administration doesn’t want to do audits more often than every two years. They don’t really want to do audits."

Ian Brennan, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake, said the mayor has always and continues to support conducting audits on city agencies. Brennan blamed the resistance to audits on city's comptroller's office, which has the ability to audit an agency, and said voters will have to consider passing a charter amendment so an audit would be performed.

"The mayor has always supported more audits, of course, that’s why she increased funding to the comptroller’s office," Brennan said.

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Christian July 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM
I propose that the audits be conducted during the currency of the current Mayor so that issues can be resolved and corrected within the terms of the Mayor. It is important to not allow a Mayor to cast blame on a former administrator of the city but advising that the problems existed before she/he was Mayor. The audits should also be conducted by outside firms to ensure that they are as accurate as they can be and not allow for internal audits.
AnnKangarouse July 17, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Wow. SImply unbelieveable.... Just weeks ago, SRB was berating the Comptroller for having called her out on a blatant misuse of $$$. Now, the person who is speaking on her behalf says she's in favor of audits?? And Henry.... all things considered.... Most residents he actually speaks to are tending bar.
Daniel Ewald July 17, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Conducting them every two years would help in that. A mayor would be help accountable in the midst of their term on how well the city is being ran.
Baltimore Matt July 17, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Isn't it funny how Dictator Blake of the People's Republic of Baltimore, the one who gives herself another year in office, is now changing her public position when it comes to audits? Given her complete disregard and disrespect for the city’s legislative body in her recent activities (anyone remember the first call by Stokes for a city wide audit and the attempts by the city council to keep the firehouses [oh yeah by giving a raise to the man hired to perform these closings] and rec centers open?) it’s funny how the public has not had their way with her in a similar fashion as Marie Antoinette. Furthermore, if at my job I would have acted the same way in the face of regular audits, I would be looking for another job (as would 99% of us would).

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