Salem, Ore. — Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade has completed a review of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) audit originally released in April of this year. The audit had been issued before the resignation of former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan due to a consulting contract with a cannabis company.
Secretary Griffin-Valade has instructed auditors to maintain the report in its originally issued form and attach a memo outlining her review process. Additionally, she has directed the Oregon Audits Division to implement changes to its processes in response to recommendations from an independent review of the audit.
In a statement, Secretary Griffin-Valade acknowledged that public confidence was impacted by the actions of the former Secretary. However, she emphasized that neither her review nor any other has uncovered reasons to doubt the report’s adherence to evidence-supported recommendations for state government.
The Secretary’s memo, outlining a month-long review process, aims to restore public trust in the report by clarifying its evidence-based foundation and asserting that the former Secretary’s actions did not influence the report’s contents.
An independent review of the audit by Sjoberg Evashenk Consulting, commissioned by the Oregon Department of Justice, suggested that auditors could have done more to address public perception amid revelations about the former Secretary’s actions. Secretary Griffin-Valade agrees with this finding and, based on recommendations in Sjoberg’s report, has directed the Audits Division to initiate process improvements to enhance independence.
The Division will revise its audit process to exclude the Executive Office and Secretary from scoping meetings attended by former Secretaries, reinforcing the Division’s independence. Despite adherence to governmental auditing standards, the Division will further strengthen its independence policy to meticulously review and document threats and conflicts of interest during each audit engagement.
Additionally, the Division will overhaul its audit plan process, documenting a standardized, risk-assessment based approach in determining audit subjects. To enhance this process, the Division will engage a third-party, independent consultant to develop further improvements to the audit plan risk assessment process.