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The City of Palo Alto Is on the Hunt for a New Auditor

Ed. note: The headline of this story was changed on 6/19/23. The original headline may have been misconstrued as placing blame on the outgoing auditor. This was not our intention.

Here’s one for you. The city of Palo Alto, CA is looking for a new city auditor after its last one, Kyle O’Rourke, resigned from his role at Baker Tilly on August 15. MP Vicki Hellenbrand informed the city about the resignation two days later. O’Rourke, a principal at the firm, has been serving the city since 2020 when the city council eliminated all positions in the city auditor’s office and decided to outsource the work to an outside firm (BT).

Writes Palo Alto Weekly:

O’Rourke’s resignation left Palo Alto with no one in the city auditor role, which is one of just four City Hall positions that are appointed directly by the council. On Monday, council members agreed that rather than recruit other firms, they will give Baker Tilly a chance to appoint a replacement.

By a unanimous vote, the council agreed to ask Baker Tilly to make up to three individuals available for interviews to become the city’s interim city auditor. The Council Appointed Officers Committee will conduct the interviews and forward its recommendation to the full council, which would then decide on next steps.

Council members generally agreed that Baker Tilly has performed well since the council hired the firm to fill the auditing function. Over the past two years, the firm has scrutinized the city’s building-permit process, its procurement of energy contracts, its partnerships with nonprofit groups and the construction of the public safety building.

“We were sorry to see that we’re not going to have Mr. O’Rourke available to us any longer,” Mayor Pat Burt said during the Monday discussion.

Last May, the city council voted to extend its contract with Baker Tilly until 2025 at $708,750 per year. The contract allows for the city to terminate within 10 days after written notice if need be and requires Baker Tilly to provide a temporary replacement for 90 days if the office becomes vacant without sufficient time for the council to appoint a replacement, reports Palo Alto Weekly. “If we find something who’s appropriate to interface with, we stay with them,” said council member Greg Tanaka.

Palo Alto launches search for new city auditor [Palo Alto Weekly]