Chattanooga City Council wisely decided to allow the auditor to become independent of political influence. It was a bold selfless move for people not always known for putting citizens' needs first. After their majority ruled, we citizens voted overwhelmingly (73%) in favor of an "independent auditor." Now, a minority band of council members think they need to whittle away at the the protections created to safeguard independence. What have we to fear from an independent auditor? What evil is so great that it justifies overthrowing the will of the people that you are supposed to present?
The council discussed the drafts and re-drafts of this legislation several times. In fact, the minutes of committee meetings show majority support of the legislation and a clear understanding of council members of the various components relating to the auditor position. How to hire and fire the auditor, the salary, the number of votes to remove and more was discussed.
The people have spoken and just because one or two of you did not get your way, you have decided to try the political “end around”. Your “end-around” will include an attempt to take back more political control of the auditor, taking away the very transparency that we as voters saw to be so critical. It’s not about salaries, or offices at city hall…It is about limiting access, making appointments coinciding with political cycles, and making it easier to remove an auditor who you do not agree with or gets too close to something that embarrasses you.
Who should the public trust on this? The auditors whose job it is to get the facts and report without bias, or politicians who have a public failure rate significantly higher than auditors. When it comes to "finding where the tax money went, I’ll go with the auditors.
Council, your constituents will be watching you carefully in the next couple of weeks. Please leave democracy alone.
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There has been much controversy over making the position of internal auditor independant from the office of mayor. The sad truth of the matter is that as citizens we had to vote on this issue to start with.
If our current administration was honest Mr. Sewell would not have had to fear for his job or retaliation from the mayor or anyone else. When Mr. Sewell found incidents of theft or corruption the mayor should have taken immediate corrective action instead of playing cover up for his cronies.
I worked for the city of Chattanooga for over three decades and when I saw theft or corruption I went and reported it. I was looking for a job when I found that one. Right is right and wrong is wrong.
I attended a two hour meeting just yesterday with the FBI and EPA over curruption that occured during the last major project at the Moccasin Bend Sewage Treatment Plant. Sadly it appears that the statute of limitations has expired on most of the issues and as taxpayers we are stuck with repaying a $45 million loan for equipment that doesn't work and misappropriated funds as a result of the auditors fear of retribution.