Tuesday, August 05, 2008

County Auditor doesn't actually "audit" anything

If you look up the term "audit" in any dictionary, there is nothing there that even remotely describes the role performed by Snohomish County's Auditor. You may see expressions like "official examination and verification of financial accounts", "critical assessment of financial status and decision-making activities", or "evaluation of buildings or facilities to improve safety, efficiency or the like".

The Snohomish County Auditor, by her own admission in a recent interview on Engaging our Communities, tracks marriages and pet licenses. She also manages the elections process and supervises animal control activities for the County.

The following is from the Snohomish County Auditor's website:

Rather than conducting financial or performance based audits as the name implies, my office provides regional services to the entire county in the areas of Licensing, Elections and Voter Registration and Document Recording. This wide range of services impacts more citizens of the county than any other county office.

The most compelling definition of what the Snohomish County Auditor does is reminiscent of my years in college. "Audit" can also mean "to attend classes without expectation of a grade or academic accountability".

So, for those of you relying on the Snohomish County "Auditor" to provide guidance into the manner in which public funds are expended locally, look elsewhere. There is no one providing oversight into how the Edmonds School District spends public funds, aside from the State Auditor, and the blog has already established how woefully insufficient that "oversight" has been.

Blog: To avoid confusion, it would be a good idea to remove the misleading title of "Auditor" from the realm of County government. Perhaps County Recorder would dispel any confusion.

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