- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The D.C. Council unanimously passed legislation Tuesday that requires the D.C. office of the chief financial officer to actively disclose its internal audits in the wake of scrutiny of the office’s procedures and its ability to police itself.

The emergency bill by council member David A. Catania, at-large independent and frequent critic of Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, requires the OCFO’s Office of Integrity and Oversight to publish all of its audit reports on its website and circulate them to the council and Mayor Vincent C. Gray. It also requires the office to issue quarterly and yearly reports about its auditing activities.

The audits, which examine issues such as internal controls at the independent agency, are typically available upon request but not actively circulated, according tocouncil staff.

“Today’s legislation codifies the publication requirement and sends an important signal to the chief financial officer that he must be more forthcoming and open when it comes to the internal workings of his office,” Mr. Catania said.

Earlier Tuesday, council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, introduced a bill that would extend this practice to all segments of the city government.

“If the CFO is now going to be required to do this, then other government agencies should be required to do this,” Mr. Evans said. “We’ll have a hearing to see what the ramifications of that are.”

Mr. Evans said sensitive information about individuals and organizations may have to be redacted before the audits are posted online.

The legislation arrived after a series of reports in The Washington Post raised questions about commercial property assessments out of Mr. Gandhi’s office. Late Monday, the newspaper reported that the office’s chief appraiser, Tony L. George, had also resigned amid recent controversy. The newspaper also reported about the resignation of the OCFO’s chief auditor, who said he left because Mr. Gandhi kept his audits sealed from release, prompting the legislation.

Mr. Gandhi’s spokesman, David Umansky, said Tuesday the office has “no concerns about this legislation.”

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