Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Time Has Come for Weld County Council to Be More Proactive

Weld County has seen phenomenal growth in the past ten years.  Since 2004, our assessed value has grown from $2.9 billion in to $9 billion in 2014, a 210% increase.  During that time, the population of the County has also grown from 218,000 to 264,000, a 21% increase.  Weld County now ranks as the second largest Colorado County in total Assessed Value – behind only Denver.  We have a larger Assessed Value than Jefferson, Arapahoe, and El Paso counties.

Weld County is blessed with plentiful natural resources and a county government which is very pro-business.  Our Commissioners have done a good job of balancing the impacts of the oil and gas activities on the community and environment.  Weld County is also blessed to have the Weld County Charter which was developed by a group of citizens who understand the benefits of local control and the need for holding our elected officials accountable.  The Charter was ratified by our citizens and went into effect in 1976.

The Preamble to our Weld County Charter states:

“We, the people of Weld County, Colorado, in order to avail ourselves of self-determination in county affairs to the fullest extent permissible under the Constitution and laws of the State of Colorado, and in order to provide uncomplicated, unburdensome government responsive to the people, and in order to provide for the most efficient and effective county government possible, do hereby ordain, establish and adopt this Home Rule Charter for Weld County, Colorado.”

The Weld County Charter allows for more local control on some issues.  One of the controls built into the Charter was the establishment of the Weld County Council.  The County Council sets the salaries of elected officials, appoints any County Commissioner vacancies, and monitors the activities of the County outlined here in Section 13-8(6):

“Council shall review all aspects of county government and shall make such periodic reports to the people relating to expenditures, efficiency, responsiveness, adherence to statutes, laws and regulations, and other matters as the Council deems advisable.”

Traditionally, the County Council has taken a less proactive role in this ‘review of all aspects of county government’ initiating audits of certain issues as needed.  I believe the Council could be much more diligent in its reviews by establishing a schedule to regularly review ‘all aspects of county government’ on a more systematic basis.  Current audits don’t cover ‘all aspects’ as outlined in the Charter.

With the growth of our County and because of the mandate of the Weld County Charter, I believe it is time to hire a full time performance auditor that reports to the Council.  This position is normal for most corporations and larger government entities, in order to reduce both operational and financial risks.  This will ensure that we, as duly elected members of the Council, fulfill the role to which you have elected us and gives us an important resource to fulfill this mission.

Please let me know your thoughts about this proposal by emailing me at jeffreythare@gmail or calling me at 970-324-1450.  This article reflects my opinion and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the rest of the Weld County Council members.

About Jeffrey Hare

Jeffrey Hare is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and Certified Information System Auditor (CISA) and serves as an At-Large member on the County Council.  He lives in Greeley with his wife Julie to whom he has been married for 21 years.  He and Julie have three daughters who all attend Frontier Academy where Jeffrey also serves on the governing board.  Jeffrey is also founder and CEO of ERP Risk Advisors, an IT consulting firm.


This article is the first part in a two-part series.   In the second article I will be addressing the types of audits that would be performed by this internal audit staff, addressing the use of external experts to perform certain audits, and the structure of other county audit organizations in Colorado and throughout the nation.

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