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Auditor O'Brien Completes Successful 2017

Cover of 2017 annual Report document.DENVER – After a year of working to protect those in need in Denver and to ensure citizens are treated equitably, Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA, is pleased to submit the 2017 Annual Report, a summary of the highlights of the hard work of his office. In the past year, the office examined many types of agencies from Red Rocks to the Denver Police to the Denver Employees Retirement Plan, to safeguard the public’s investment in Denver.

The year was full of high standards and hard work to help agencies improve Denver on behalf of the taxpayers. In 2017, Auditor O’Brien oversaw the completion of 26 audits and other engagements, and 24 follow-up reports. The reports spanned performance, financial and data-analytics auditing work.

In 2017, the Auditor prioritized work to strengthen safeguards over the city’s cybersecurity and the personal information of people who communicate with city agencies. We also helped protect the transparency and customer satisfaction objectives for one of Denver’s most beloved resources: its parks. We looked ahead to ensure Denver would be prepared to continue essential government services in case of a disaster.

Throughout the year, we had many impactful audits, including a groundbreaking look at the Denver Zoo and an audit of Child Welfare Services which showed the agency did not keep complete records to prove all caseworkers passed background checks. We looked into the backlog of in the city’s busy permitting system and we kept a close watch on projects and agreements at Denver’s airport.

Many financial audits in 2017 examined the use of taxpayer dollars. We commissioned an evaluation of the Denver Employees Retirement Plan and its investment structure and performance.

We broke ground on gaining access to city agencies in 2017. Agencies objected to the Auditor’s authority three times in a little more than a year. Each time, ruling authorities upheld Auditor O’Brien’s ability to examine how each agency uses Denver dollars, ensuring we could monitor agencies for efficiency and effectiveness on behalf of all those who care about Denver.

Auditor O’Brien also oversaw meaningful follow-up reports on audits such as how the city spends marijuana tax revenues and how Denver’s police department records data after stopping people in the city.

The Prevailing Wage Division worked with both employers and employees to help ensure all workers are paid according to the law. The simplified prevailing wage ordinance helps reduce the burden on contractors and encourages more of them to seek work with the city. The prevailing wage investigators audited more than 46,500 payrolls and paid out $445,000 in restitution checks to underpaid workers.

The Auditor’s community outreach efforts expanded again in 2017. Our office raised awareness for the public by increasing communication with the media through 25 media releases and 50 reports. Auditor O’Brien also continued his in-person community updates by attending more than 50 neighborhood, business and other organization meetings throughout the year. Finally, we became active and reached thousands more community members through social networking and our 13 newsletters. The public is encouraged to reach out with questions or audit ideas on our Facebook, Nextdoor, Twitter or LinkedIn pages.

“Our office is proud to serve the public with professionalism, hard work and dedication to the highest standards,” Auditor O’Brien said. “I thank the Mayor, City Council, city leaders, the people of Denver and all city agencies for their interest in working together to improve the city.”

Auditor O’Brien and the entire office are looking forward to building upon our work in 2018.

Read the 2017 Annual Report