Auditor O’Brien Statement on Subpoena Power

Published on March 14, 2022

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Lea la declaración en español

DENVER –Statement from Denver Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA, on both the City Council bill to repeal the auditor subpoena power ordinance and the possibility of a future bill to reinstate Denver Labor’s subpoena power:

“Although the process to get here was long and challenging, tonight I am hopeful on behalf of the people of Denver who might still benefit from Denver Labor having the ability to use subpoenas in wage investigations to more quickly get workers the money they earned.

A majority of the City Council chose to repeal the existing subpoena power ordinance after my office objected to the council’s amendment that affected our audit access.

However, we are also aware of plans in the weeks ahead to discuss restoring the subpoena power to our wage investigation work. I hope to work with council to find a solution that works for everyone.

This has always been about doing the best possible work on behalf of the public we serve. With subpoena power restored for wage investigations, we would be able to seek faster processes when needed to make workers whole after they were not paid according to the law.

As for the Audit Services Division — as I have said previously — we already have the right to all records we need without restrictions, according to the Denver Charter and contract audit clauses. However, without the subpoena power to speed the process up, we will have to go back to working as we were before.

I’m sure removing the tool for quicker audit access is a disappointment to some businesses and others in our community who would have preferred the cheaper and more focused subpoena court process instead of years of contract litigation. However, we will continue to do our best to minimize the high costs to the city and to businesses that this outdated process will require, should audited organizations refuse to provide us with the necessary records.

Government accountability and transparency are not catch phrases — they are the goals and duties of dedicated and selfless leaders. No matter what burden is placed on this office or what tools are denied it, we will never stop tirelessly working to safeguard the city’s residents and resources. Thank you to the many community members and organizations who support our efforts.”


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