Auditor taking a hike

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Colorado Springs city auditor Jeff Litchfield is splitting town after it was revealed he traveled the most miles of any appointee in his city-owned car, and after he weathered a months-long standoff over how much Colorado Springs Utilities should give the city for a payment in lieu of taxes.

Named city auditor here in mid-2004, Litchfield has taken a job as assistance finance director with the city of Tacoma, Wash. So, he's going from the top guy in his office in a city of 400,000 to a No. 2 gig in a town of less than 200,000.

His resignation is effective Feb. 3.

The city issued a press release more than an hour after the Independent interviewed Litchfield about his future plans.

Said Mayor Lionel Rivera: “During his tenure, Jeff has done a very good job of supporting City Council as we govern and oversee all functional areas of the City, Memorial Health System and Colorado Springs Utilities. He has grown the auditor’s office into a highly trained, top-notch group of professionals who are well prepared to continue outstanding work without missing a beat.”

Litchfield was named city auditor in June 2004, after a nationwide search by City Council, and served in that position for more than five years. He led the effort to make all of the auditor’s reports public and established a Web site to post documents in March 2006. In addition, he created an anonymous phone line (385-ADTR) where employees and citizens could report suspected wrongdoing.

According to Rivera, City Council will name an interim city auditor before Litchfield’s departure and will quickly determine a process to use to choose a replacement.

The city auditor is appointed by, and reports directly to, City Council. He or she remains independent and can provide objective analysis of the various operations. The city auditor and his staff provide financial audits, attestation services, performance audits and limited special projects where independence and objectivity are required.

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