FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, August 17, 2006CONTACT:
Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, Mayor’s Office
Denis Berckefeldt, Auditor’s Office
Mayor Hickenlooper and Auditor Gallagher Announce Agreement on
Financial Management Charter Reform
Joint Proposal Aims to Strengthen City’s Financial Processes and Safeguards
(DENVER) Mayor John Hickenlooper and Auditor Dennis Gallagher announced their agreement on a proposed financial charter reform measure on Thursday, jointly meeting with the media on the steps of the Denver City and County Building.
The proposal – which updates the century-old financial operations in the City to increase accountability, establish a Chief Financial Officer under the Mayor and enhance the oversight role of the Auditor – resulted from five months of in-depth analysis by the City’s Financial Management Task Force and collaboration between the Mayor’s Office, Auditor’s Office and City Council. If approved by City Council, the charter amendment could go before Denver voters this November.
“This joint proposal represents a tremendous step forward in getting the City’s financial house in order and modernizing our antiquated financial processes while strengthening our systems of checks and balances,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper. “By implementing a financial structure that mirrors the best practices of the public and private sectors, we will be able to deliver better service, performance and accountability for the citizens of Denver.”
“I am pleased that the Mayor and I were able to work together to create a new financial structure for Denver that will increase efficiencies without compromising the necessary safeguards, checks and balances that protect the citizens and taxpayers of Denver,” said Auditor Dennis Gallagher. “In fact, the robust audit capacity we will have will increase our watchdog ability.”
The proposed charter amendment will go before the Denver City Council on Monday night, August 21, 2006, for first reading. Highlights of the proposal are outlined below:
Improved Financial Management and Controls
By bringing all financial functions within the administration under a new Chief Financial Officer, the City will be able to:
- Improve efficiency of its operations, reducing redundancies and expediting processes;
- Generate more accurate financial information in a more timely manner, which will enable better decision-making;
- Correct the weaknesses in financial controls identified repeatedly by the City’s outside auditors, thereby reducing the risk of mistakes or fraud within the City’s financial systems; and
- Create new safeguards in our system by replacing the Auditor’s role in administrative financial processing with a more important ability to audit the City’s financial activities.
Improved Performance of City Operations
By creating a strong performance auditing function with the Auditor’s Office, the proposal will:
- Provide the Auditor’s Office with the ability to suggest improvements for any agency in the City;
- Enable the Mayor or City Council to ask the Auditor’s Office to explore areas of concern and make recommendations; and
- Identify areas of efficiency and/or cost savings within the City’s operations.
- Enable City Council to set the procedures for performance audits.
Enhanced Checks and Balances
The proposal not only retains the appropriate checks and balances inherent in the City’s century-old financial systems, but it also modernizes and improves them by:
- Replacing the Auditor’s administrative processing role with a true and robust audit function and full authority to look at any transaction with the City at any time;
- Retaining the Auditor’s role in contract review, while also ensuring efficiency by establishing appropriate time limits for review;
- Preserving the Auditor’s role in applying prevailing wage enforcement; and
- Creating a new Audit Committee of outside experts chaired by the Auditor with two appointees from each of the three branches of Denver City government to provide additional insight and guidance with respect to these new auditing activities.
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