By the Mercury Election Strike Force | May 2, 2022 | Portland Mercury
Portland City Auditor
While Portland’s auditor is the only elected city official that doesn’t sit on City Council, the office still holds significant influence over city policymaking. The auditor’s office is responsible for deciding which bureaus or specific city programs deserve investigation to measure their efficiency, equity, promised outcomes, and overall success. The auditor’s office is as if the city hired a top-notch team of investigative journalists to dig into its messiest, most unorganized corners and publish the results. Findings of an audit can often inspire the creation of new policies to improve clunky bureaucratic systems, save taxpayer dollars, and expose gaps in accountability and oversight.
We think this responsibility should go to Simone Rede. Rede is a seasoned auditor, with experience in the Oregon Secretary of State Audits Division and Metro’s Auditor Office, where she currently works. She has dug into broad, far-reaching investigations, like the audits of Metro’s affordable housing bond and TriMet, and has a track record of parsing through heaps of information to draw impactful conclusions.
We’re particularly interested in Rede’s focus on inclusion when it comes to initiating and working on an audit. Rede said she wants to prioritize community feedback when deciding which audits to pursue, and is open to trying new ways to engage the public and gather input. Rede has also worked to reach out to overlooked groups when she’s gathering qualitative data during an investigation—for example, Rede said she compelled Metro’s audit team to interview people with disabilities when auditing the affordable housing bond, something she said wasn’t already in the works.
Rede wants to prioritize investigations into two areas that currently draw the most public concern: Housing and police. In particular, Rede is eager to audit the integrity of a still-in-the-works plan to equip Portland police with body-worn cameras when it's up and running, with an eye toward data storage and oversight.
While her opponent, certified public accountant Brian Setzler, has a knack for numbers and could bring an outsider’s perspective to the office, we believe Rede’s experience is critical to steer the office through a particularly bumpy period in City Hall. Vote Rede for Portland City Auditor.