Auditor’s Political Move to Lobby Council’s Help

May 11, 2013

Posted in City Auditor’s Report

By Ken A. Epstein

City Auditor Courtney Ruby has sent out an email “Call to Action” asking Oakland residents to defend her audit that accuses two city council members of interfering with staff in awarding a $6 million Army Base development contract.

Ruby’s email was sent on April 26, after the council’s Rules Committee placed an item on the May 21 City Council agenda to

consider hiring an outside auditor to examine Ruby’s March 21 Non-Interference in Administrative Affairs Performance Audit.
The item will be discussed at the May 21 council meeting.

Under a headline –“Call to Action: Is Integrity in Government Important to You?” – the email asks residents to “Make sure your councilmember knows how you feel about the recently released…audit report, which found two councilmembers and one aide violated the City Charter….

“Email your councilmember and/or attend the City Council meeting on May 21 where we will be presenting our report to the City Council.”

Courtney Ruby

In response to Ruby’s call to action, District 5 Councilmember Noel Gallo said he has received about 20 emails supporting the city auditor, adding that he is not happy with the direction the discussion has taken.

Rashidah Grinage

“It’s a shame all this is taking place,” he said. “It’s very divisive. It keeps us from discussing the issues.”

Longtime community activist Rashidah Grinage faulted Ruby for politicizing her audit findings. “It’s inappropriate. An auditor should not be political. It should not be a political position,” she said.

Grinage said she has heard Ruby may have political ambitions. “It’s rumored that she may run for mayor or has some interest in that,” said Grinage. “I don’t think this judgment is the kind of judgment we want in a mayor.

“I think she’s going to have to wear the consequences of this. Something that she thought was going to somehow give her some mileage has backfired.”