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Independent City Auditor. Reporting Directly to the Residents.


Serving Oakland With Integrity.


Builds Trust. Strengthens City Government.


Valuing Our Community.


Working Together. For a Better Future.

City Auditor Michael C. Houston, MPP, CIA


On April 30, 2024, the Office of the City Auditor released a report on the audit of the City of Oakland’s application for funding from the State of California’s Organized Retail Theft Prevention (ORTP) Grant Program. The audit objective was to determine why the City’s Application to the State of California’s Organized Retail Theft Prevention (ORTP) Grant Program was not submitted on time.

In September 2023, the State announced that 38 agencies throughout California received $242 million in ORTP grant funding out of the 114 agencies that applied. The City of Oakland missed the deadline and did not submit an ORTP grant application.

Oakland residents and businesses contacted our Office, expressing their anger and concern about the missed opportunity. These community concerns and a request from the City Administration prompted the Office to launch an audit to identify why the City failed to apply.

This missed opportunity received widespread local news coverage that presented differing accounts of what transpired. This report and the appendices provide the authoritative account of what actually transpired.

The audit found: 1) the Mayor could have acted within her authority to direct the City Administrator to coordinate efforts to compile and submit a grant proposal successfully, 2) the lack of an Executive Sponsor created fragmented efforts to complete the grant application, 3) between April and July 2023, three key positions were filled with interim chiefs and directors, including OPD, EWD and the City Administrator’s Office, all with limited experience managing within the City’s framework, and 4) the City lacked a citywide grant management policy which could have helped to guide the pre-application evaluation process and delineated staff roles and responsibilities.

The audit’s primary recommendation is that the City Administrator develop and implement a citywide grants management policy that guides the pursuit of grants.

Read the Audit Report and the Press Release.


On March 21, 2024, the Office of the City Auditor released its first comprehensive semiannual audit recommendation follow-up report in accordance with new City Charter requirements from Measure X, which voters approved in 2022. Prior to this semiannual reporting process, the Auditor’s Office followed up on recommendations within audits individually.

The City Auditor’s Office coordinated with staff throughout the City to understand the status of each audit recommendation issued within the last 10 years. The report shows the count of recommendations implemented by intended benefits. Overwhelmingly, the recommendations are intended to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of City services, though others aim to improve transparency, legal compliance, or equity of outcomes, safeguard public resources, or provide economic benefits in the form of reduced costs or added revenue.

In reviewing all the recommendations issued over the past 10 years, staff found that of 265 unique audit recommendations, the City Administration has implemented 117 of them or 44 per cent. Another 62 recommendations (23 percent) are partially implemented, while 86 (33 percent) have not been implemented. We will continue reporting on open recommendations semiannually for periods ending June 30th and December 31st.

Read the Audit Recommendation Follow-up Report and the Press Release.

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