Berkeley's Auditor to Retire After 24 Years

Berkeley Auditor Ann-Marie Hogan has written over 100 reports for city leaders over the years. Today, she’s getting ready to write her own final chapter with the city.

Hogan has announced her retirement this December, which will conclude 24 years of service in Berkeley. She is one of the city’s longest serving auditors, right up there with Meldon L. Hansom who served from 1895 to 1919.

Hogan’s mark on the city auditor’s office has been indelible. Whereas her predecessor was known for a fierce partisan streak, Hogan made it a point to remain as politically neutral as possible. That meant declining endorsements from city leaders and refusing to endorse candidates for city council.

As auditor, Hogan also successfully pushed for changes to increase accountability and transparency in Berkeley. These include a 1998 amendment to the city charter allowing her office to conduct audits of city departments and to impose strict standards on government officials.

Hogan got her start in politics during the tempestuous era of the 1960s. Her true passion was music and she went on to have a career as a jazz singer and nightclub operator before being elected auditor in 1994. Now that she’s retiring, she hopes to get back to her musical roots and sing again.

City leaders reacted to Hogan’s announcement with effusive praise. They recalled her as an exceptionally gifted writer -- someone who could tell a city’s story better than most, even using fables like Aesop’s The Ant and the Grasshopper to engender a sense of urgency in city leaders when necessary.

“Her reports are models of what an audit report should look like,” said her predecessor Anna Rabkin. “It’s readable. It’s understandable. It’s pleasing to the eye. The proof is that most of her recommendations are accepted by city staff, which results in major improvements in city operations.”

Also important is how Hogan viewed her role as a watchdog. She was never after “gotcha” moments when reviewing city transactions, she says. Her goal was always to try and help the city do better. She now hopes voters will elect Jenny Wong  to carry the mantel.