Developing an Ombudsman to be your advocate
Big Ideas to Solve Big Challenges
A Division of the Ombudsman
You deserve an advocate in city government focused on making government work better and defending Denver residents, small businesses, non-profits, and other stakeholders. I will invest in building a Division of the Ombudsman with the power to collect complaints and concerns and provide third-party assessments and reviews based on those concerns. Many cities, counties, and states across the United States have ombudsmen to give voice to concerns, improve government, and give average residents a voice and a seat at the table. Denver deserves an advocate.
Too often, we see disparate program outcomes based on race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, native ancestry, or disability. Our government has a responsibility to measure and address those disparities. I will make equity the rule, not the exception, through the use of equity auditing. I will ensure that every single performance audit my office conducts includes an equity component. Every. Single. Audit. I will lead in developing a toolkit for equity auditing to assess and address gaps in fairness and opportunity to make our City government fairer.
We are a growing city, and the Denver Auditor’s Office should be better prepared to engage in capital construction auditing to protect the interests of taxpayers. Our current Auditor waited over four years to audit the Denver Airport Great Hall project, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to Denver taxpayers. I will change that and start a capital construction audit at the contracting stage. It is critical that we have competent oversight of construction activities and rely on a credible Auditor with a record of success to provide leadership and insight into construction activities for the success of projects.
I will modernize our information technology auditing capabilities and procedures. There have been significant concerns that the incumbent has endangered the personal data of residents of Denver and information that could lead to bad actors infiltrating critical systems. I’ll invest in an encrypted, cloud-based secure information exchange platform to protect your data and to protect city systems. I’ll ban the use of thumb drives in the office. I’ll also invest in modern technology auditing approaches, like penetration testing, assessing code for weaknesses and inefficiencies, and auditing data integrity and controls of physical assets and software. Your Auditor should be up to date on modern technology auditing. Your Auditor should be trusted to safeguard sensitive information.
Imagine this: You build a house and realize the stairway is six inches narrower than local building codes allow, forcing you to start over. That’s what often happens when cities come up with a great idea, and auditors come in three years later and find some things were not done correctly. It’s not fair and it’s not effective. I will work to develop an advisory function in the Auditor’s Office to prevent findings from ever occurring, look out for taxpayer dollars, and be more proactive in solving challenges before they arise.
Climate Change Audit
I will conduct Denver’s very first enterprise-wide climate change audit to provide a specific focus on how the City can manage the risks of climate change. Comprehensive climate change auditing will result in more innovative investments in public health, public safety, local environments, racial equity, and economic opportunity.
We all want a city government that actually gets the job done, so I’ll expand the performance auditing capabilities of this office. Performance audits examine the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs and functions with the goal of making them better. An audit that sits on a shelf and collects dust is not an audit worth doing, but an audit that transforms a program and results in problem-solving can make all the difference for a resident in need, a family, and a neighborhood. I’ll focus on driving results by restoring performance auditing to the Auditor’s Office for a more effective city.