In this Oakland Tribune article, Oakland City Auditor Roland Smith says he will meet with the public to hear their complaints. Wow, after all these years.
I'll bet he doesn't do anything about them, though. I met with him for a total of two hours on the problems at the Coliseum in 2000 and he never acted on anything. So why should he be expected to act now?
Roland, I like you personally. But I also expected better of you in this position. I'm totally disappointed.
Two candidates vie for position of city auditor Incumbent values independence, considers post a public 'window'
By Heather MacDonald, STAFF WRITER - OAKLAND TRIBUNE
Article Last Updated:10/29/2006 05:11:43 AM PST
OAKLAND — Even though he is the incumbent, City Auditor Roland Smith will have to come from behind to win a third term. Smith, who considers his office a window into government, said he is running for re-election to defend the independence of the office and help Oakland residents understand what happens behind closed doors.
"I fight City Hall from the inside," Smith said. "And City Hall has to be fought."
In January, City Administrator Deborah Edgerly transferred all but two employees in Smith's office to other city departments after an internal investigation found he had created a hostile work environment. In response, Smith sued the Oakland City Council, mayor and city administrator.
Smith defends his record, saying his unwillingness to compromise the independence of the city auditor's office — charged with keeping tabs on large contracts, programs and voter-approved bond measures — is what has created the conflict, and the juicy headlines.
Smith has dismissed the charges as "distortions and fabrications," and rejected allegations he verbally abused his staff, retaliated against them when they complained and made derogatory statements about women and Asian employees. Smith said last week he believes he has put the controversy behind him, although he is having trouble hiring qualified deputy auditors and reducing the backlog of work that has accumulated.
In the past several weeks, Smith has proposed an incentive program to give new retail businesses a tax waiver, as long as at least half of their employees live in Oakland. The council will consider it next month as part of an examination of the city's retail strategy.
Smith also estimates that more than 20 percent of the city's meters are not operational, which would mean a loss of more than $2 million to city coffers.
"That's hurting our shopping districts," Smith said, suggesting the city remove meters to encourage traffic.
A self-described nit-picker, Smith said he is also auditing whether the city is receiving all of the tax revenue it should from Alameda County.
Smith also has taken on the Oakland Police Officers Association, and investigated the use of overtime by the Oakland Police Department, prompting an investigation by the Alameda County Grand Jury that found no wrongdoing, but lax controls. If re-elected to his $170,000-a-year post, Smith said he hopes to expand his whistle-blower program that encourages members of the public to contact him with their concerns about wrongdoing at City Hall.
In addition, Smith said he plans to create citizen task forces to advise the city on issues such as blight, violence and transportation.