Editorial: Increase access for Denver city auditor

From The Denver Post:  Perhaps Dennis Gallagher’s last hurrah as Denver’s three-term auditor will be his efforts to push legislation to make it easier to audit the city’s human services department.

Gallagher has been a vocal supporter of House Bill 1370, which would allow county auditors access to human services records.

That hasn’t been the case in the past and it ought to change.

Twice as auditor Gallagher has tried to conduct performance audits of Denver Human Services. Both times he was rebuffed, with the agency refusing to disclose documents.

The first time was for a 2009 audit of the agency’s child support enforcement. The last was in 2013 when Gallagher’s team tried to audit more specific functions — the distribution of gift cards to the needy, the efficiency of the call center, and customer service effectiveness.

It is galling the agency wouldn’t provide simple information to help auditors determine even whether the gift card program was being responsibly implemented.

In 2012, $166,000 in gift cards, paid for by taxpayers, were doled out. Questions about how they were used could not be scrutinized because human services officials said they were prohibited by law from releasing the confidential information.

The law should allow such audits and that is what HB 1370 would do.

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