Portland bean counters blow off audit

A little friction between the Portland city auditor's office and the rest of the municipal bureaucracy is to be expected, but lately it seems to be increasing to an alarming level. Late last week, we heard that the city finance people have chosen to ignore a year-old audit that found that their collection practices to be chaotic and mean. The staff of the auditor, Simone Rede (pictured), wrote on Thursday:

This is a one-year follow-up on our 2022 audit Taxes, fines, and fees: Customers who owe caught in a maze of inconsistent and uncoordinated collection strategies. In that report, we found bureaus’ inconsistent and uncoordinated strategies for collecting money owed to the City can be confusing and sometimes harmful, especially for Portlanders with limited English proficiency or who can’t pay their bills.

Without a centralized structure for City collections, no one entity was in charge of making sure the different programs worked together to achieve City goals. We recommended the City – through the leadership of the Office of Management and Finance – develop Citywide standards to improve collections practices, with bureaus reporting annually on whether they meet those standards. 

Management and Finance did not make progress on implementing our recommendations and we urge them not to delay their work. There is a unique window of opportunity to implement these recommendations while also advancing changes needed for the City’s new form of government. In particular, Management and Finance should expedite the discussion of whether City collections should be consolidated in light of a recent City Council mandate to reorganize bureaus around service areas.

Management and Finance's intransigence would be a lot less appalling if the city weren't so busy taking on outside collection work for other jurisdictions. The wicked Metro homeless tax and the equally counter-productive Multnomah County preschool tax – both are being gleefully adminstered (with the signature taste for blood) by the Portland Revenue Bureau.

Before it picks up any more side gigs collecting other jurisdictions' taxes, the city finance shop ought to get its own house in order. When auditors get laughed off, trouble almost always ensues.


  1. The public period for commenting on legalizing camping is happening now. Here is my take:

    You people have lost your minds. It is that simple. This law if passed it will make matters FAR WORSE than they already are now. My disgust with your feeble and toxic "solution" is almost beyond words. Your continuance to enable drug addiction (what you call camping) will leave a black mark on this state for decades. Shame on all of you!



Post a Comment

The platform used for this blog is awfully wonky when it comes to comments. It may work for you, it may not. It's a Google thing, and beyond my control. Apologies if you can't get through. You can email me a comment at jackbogsblog@comcast.net, and if it's appropriate, I can post it here for you.