The Metropolitan King County Council in November unanimously approved an ordinance, authored and proposed by Councilmember Rod Dembowski, which creates a full-time, ongoing and independent auditor of Metro Transit.
“Government must be accountable, efficient, and transparent,” said Dembowski. “I authored this legislation because county residents were loud and clear in their message that ongoing, comprehensive, performance and financial auditing of Metro Transit is necessary.” Previous audits of Metro Transit have found savings and areas for improvement, according to the county. An audit completed in 2009 resulted in approximately $800 million in net positive impact for the agency.
“We have repeatedly demonstrated that audits save money and improve accountability,” said Dembowski. “Audits also increase transparency that fosters much-needed trust with the public. The public needs to know that their tax dollars and fares are being spent wisely, and I believe this legislation will increase public confidence in Metro.”
In reviewing Metro’s budget, which approaches $1 billion annually, the new independent auditor will make recommendations for continued improvement and identification of potential savings and efficiencies. The auditor will present his or her recommendations for improved operations to Metro Transit staff and policy-makers, and the public. The auditor will be required to file a report to the council and the public by July 1 of every even-numbered year. The content of the report will summarize the results of his or her work in the previous 24 months, and detail what actions the county took in response to any findings in transit audits and assessments completed in the previous three years.