Denver auditor says he will sue Human Services over denial of records

From The Denver Post:  Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher on Thursday said his office will sue the Denver Department of Human Services over the denial of records for its audit.

Gallagher announced his intention to sue at an audit committee meeting, which unveiled an audit report about DHS that found questionable record-keeping and needs for improvements in the agency’s call center.

But the report mostly blasted DHS for failing to provide records. The agency cited state and federal confidentiality reasons for not handing over the information for the audit. The audit committee unanimously approved Gallagher’s call for a lawsuit.

“It is a shame that it has had to come to this,” said board member Jeff Hart. “It chips away at that public confidence in government. The public trust in confidence is at an all-time low. The DHS is digging in their heels on this and finding every way to say no and making things as confusing as possible and finding no way out is a very sad state of affairs.”

Barbara Shaklee, attorney for DHS, said the records do not belong to the city. They are state records and Shaklee cited state law that says “information contained in reports and records concerning child abuse and neglect are confidential and shall not be public information.”

“You have done nothing but obfuscate this issue,” said audit committee member Timothy O’Brien. “You have done a good job at that. The city charter trumps everything. That is where the people have spoken. Not elected members. This power comes from the people. You are acting contrary to the people.”

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