GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Grand Rapids Comptroller Donijo DeJonge -- who proposed eliminating her own job - wants the city to create an independent board of citizens with accounting, auditing and financial expertise to hire an independent auditor or accountability officer.
And Mayor George Heartwell thinks it's a good idea.
DeJonge is the author of a consolidation proposal on the city ballot in November that would eliminate her job and merge her department, which handles city bookkeeping with the budget office.
Some people believe that the elected comptroller acts as the fiscal watchdog but she told 24 Hour News 8 that's not really true and her proposal will create something new.
In her department there is an auditor. But the auditor is appointed by the city manager and, theoretically, that's a potential conflict of interest. DeJonge wants a verbal commitment from the city commission next Tuesday on her proposal to create an independent, six-member board of mostly finance professionals to hire and supervise an independent accountability officer.
"They would be citizens, so they're not city employees," she said. "They would have to have expertise in accounting, finance, auditing. And I'm proposing that at least two of the members have certification in the field."
Mayor Heartwell said the proposed independent accountability officer would be more than a bean counter, but instead somebody who can look more broadly at how the city does business.
"It's a good idea. The time is right," he told 24 Hour News 8. "So this is going to help us become a more efficient, effective organization. It's going to be transparent. It's going to be highly accountable and it's going to be accountable, not to the city manager and not to the city commission, but to an independent body of citizens that will oversee the work."
DeJonge hopes the city commissioners OK the plan next week.
"It's a new concept for the city, even for the state," she said. "There's no other city that operates this particular way with an audit committee."
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