The current Denver city auditor thinks future auditors should have the same qualifications he brought to the job -- namely, being a licensed certified public accountant.
Auditor Tim O’Brien wants the professional standard written clearly into law. He has created a committee to look into the issue. His office said O’Brien is only the second Denver city auditor to hold a CPA’s license.
“I want a legacy of professionalism in leadership to outlast me,” O’Brien said in a statement Thursday. “I want the next person who holds this office — and the next, and the next — to all be equally as qualified. I want the Auditor’s independence and professionalism enshrined in law.”
O’Brien is a former state auditor and member of the city’s audit committee. He succeeded a former city council member and state representative Dennis Gallagher in 2015, after Gallagher, who is not a CPA, endorsed an outgoing city council member, Chris Nevitt, in the 2015 race.
O’Brien said Thursday that while holding a CPA license is implied in the city charter and existing standards, it is not explicitly required, though state and federal laws require financial auditors to be certified public accountants.
He noted that law requires the city’s district attorney to have a law degree, and the auditor should also meet a professional requirement for the job.
“The auditor’s role is an essential check and balance on our strong-mayor system,” he stated. “I believe the people of Denver deserve a guarantee the auditor will always be qualified for the job and that this office will always be able to produce the same quality of work.”
O'Brien said the office’s staff bring “a diverse array of qualifications and certifications, which make our audit work stronger,” but thinks a CPA should lead the charge.
“We have seen what happens when a weak audit clause slips into a contract, which happened with the Westin hotel at Denver’s airport,” O’Brien said. “The public deserves accountability.”