A community news source for residents of the HarriOak neighborhood in Oakland, CA.

Friday, February 27, 2009

City Auditor's Plea for Help

City Auditor Courtney Ruby set out an unprecedented plea for help from Oakland citizens today after the administration of Mayor Ron Dellums illegally withheld documents from her. Ruby is requesting that citizens contact the Mayor's office (510) 238-3141.

Dear Concerned Oaklanders,

You have likely seen the article in today's Chronicle. It is accurate - the Administration is trying to withhold key documents essential to my audit of the City's hiring practices.

There is no question that these documents should be released to my office. As City Attorney Russo states, "I issued an (legal) opinion in 2007...under the charter, the auditor has unlimited review power."

I am your eyes and ears inside City Hall. These anti-nepotism documents, as part of my Hiring Practices Audit, are critical to restoring transparency and accountability in Oakland's government.

My office will be pursuing legal avenues, but nothing is as effective as the power of a concerned electorate. I encourage you to contact the Mayor's office today and let them know that you expect the Administration to fulfill the City Auditor's request.

Committed to serving you and Oakland with the utmost integrity,

Courtney A. Ruby, CPA
City Auditor

Office of the City Auditor
City of Oakland
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 4th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 238-3378
Email: cityauditor@oaklandnet.com
Website: www.oaklandauditor.com

According to Oakland Residents for Peaceful Neighborhoods:
"Oakland auditor Courtney Ruby is attempting to check compliance with a City ordinance requiring that 'All current City officials and supervisors must disclose all known family relationships, consensual romantic relationships and cohabitant relationships with existing City employees, managers and officials.' Ruby developed a simple one-page form for the City's 800 or so supervisors to complete. All responses to the auditor are confidential.
"Dan Lindheim, the City Administrator, refuses to cooperate. He's not providing the questionnaires to Ruby. Apparently, he is not even insisting that supervisors complete them. Lindheim says he fears for the privacy of supervisors. The city attorney has confirmed that the city auditor has a right to the documents. It is Lindheim's legal duty to get the forms filled out and on to Ruby."


Anonymous said...

I phoned the Mayor's Office yesterday when I received Courtney Ruby's email and was told that "the Mayor's Office does not accept comments by telephone." I was told that I must email or fax any comment to the Mayor.

Who has ever heard of a public servant behaving in this fashion?

Anonymous said...

What kind of dysfunctional government is this? The City Council passed the law. If the law is subject to legal challenge, then Mr. Lindheim can file such a legal challenge. However, he can't just choose not to follow the law. The City Auditor should file a writ petition to compel the City officials to perform a clear, ministerial duty, and seek attorney fees under Government Code section 800 for "arbitrary and capricious" conduct. That should put some manners on him.

Anonymous said...

This is SO Oakland:
Let's pass an anti nepotism ordinance,
Let's have the city attorney vet it,
Then let's let the city administrator [a known crony of the mayor] be the first person to violate it *and* get away with violating it.
Let's then force the city auditor--an elected official--to ask the citizens for help bringing a political appointee in line, because the mayor isn't cooperating with the city's laws and/or due diligence with city personnel policies. Again.

Parenthetical procedural comment: Complain, but **don't use e-mail!**
1. the mayor's office won't pay attention to e-mail. Worse they usually beef up spam filters to automatically divert or delete unhappy news or complaints.
2. If you fax, make sure you print/download a fax confirmation
3. The real way to get the mayor's attention is snail mail, certified, return receipt requested. It costs a few bucks, but the effect is ...electrifying.

REGARDLESS of which method you use to complain, be sure to insist on a written response within 10 business days.

Chip Johnson's comments both today and Friday are outraged at this behavior too.