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City commission postpones search for City Auditor

BY JENNIFER CABRERA / OCTOBER 3, 2019

During the October 3 City Commission meeting, the commission decided that they wanted to explore working with a different search firm for the City Auditor search. The city used executive search firm Colin Baenziger & Associates for the City Manager search, but during the vote to select Lee Feldman as the new City Manager, David Arreola said he was looking for something that he didn’t find in the finalists (he didn’t say what that was). Based on that experience, he suggested that the City Commission consider a different search firm. After some discussion, the commission agreed to go in that direction.

The City Auditor selection timeline they were initially considering (which would have required Colin Baenziger & Associates to start work immediately) would have resulted in a hire near the end of December, with a start date most likely in February. Given the interruption of the holidays, today’s decision likely pushes the start date for a new City Auditor to March or later.

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Since the City Commission terminated City Auditor Carlos Holt’s contract without cause in June, Qian Yuan has been the Interim City Auditor (except for a brief time when Eileen Marzak served as Interim while Yuan was on vacation). However, Yuan has reportedly been on administrative leave since early September, pending an Equal Opportunity investigation, and former Assistant City Auditor Emily Bowie left for another job in early September, so the office has been short-staffed. Marzak agreed to come back as a contractor after retiring from the City Auditor’s office.

The commission also decided to appoint GRU’s Len Loria as the new Interim City Auditor, since he was the lone CPA out of the internal candidates on their short list; this returns Yuan to his former position as Assistant City Auditor. Loria is currently Controller of GRU’s Budget, Finance and Accounting division. Although the commission didn’t discuss this, one limitation of appointing Loria is that he can’t participate in any audit of GRU for 2 years. Given the short staffing in the office, this could be an issue with upcoming GRU audits.

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