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City Council names trio for audit committee

The San Diego City Council appointed two certified accountants and one certified auditor to the city’s public audit committee Monday.

Stephen Grant, a certified information systems auditor who works for local defense contractor SAIC Inc. (NYSE: SAI), was selected for a four-year term. Charles Sellers, a certified public accountant, formerly of Ernst & Young and now of his own firm, Sellers & Co., was named to a three-year term. Wade McKnight, a CPA and partner at the firm J.H. Cohn LLPB won a two-year term.

The audit committee was created in 2008 when voters approved a change to the city charter. The committee is to be comprised of two city councilmembers and three public members. The two councilmembers already on board are Kevin Faulconer and Carl DeMaio.

“The audit committee is not the most glamorous of committees, but it is some of the most important work we’re doing in the city,” Faulconer said.

The councilmembers voted via ballot for public members after interviewing them during a public City Council hearing. The council originally planned to hear from six finalists, but one withdrew his candidacy over the weekend due to unforeseen family matters.

Grant, a graduate of Texas State University with an MBA from the University of California, Irvine, has a background in helping set up accounting practices for the U.S. government, most of which were for classified contracts.

“These were contracts that weren’t necessarily public and so it was extremely important that somebody set up processes, and reviewed those processes, and set up an internal structure at a company to ensure that though these things weren’t commonly known [at] the company, they were getting the proper treatment,” Grant said, explaining how his background would help him.

Sellers has a bachelor's and a master's degree from San Diego State University. A San Diego resident since he was 9 years old, Sellers has been a member of the Rancho Peñasquitos planning board for 12 years. He said that experience has taught him how to work with different factions to sort out problems.

“I find that nine times out of 10 in public settings, we can agree what the problem is. It’s the solution that tends to be elusive, and that takes work,” Sellers said. “In effect, I’ve already had much practice in being an independent liaison between the city and its citizenry, which is exactly what the charter now calls up on the audit committee to do.”

McKnight, a graduate of the University of Kentucky, just moved to San Diego a year ago from Nevada, but he said his outsider status could be an asset, because he is not beholden to any special interests.


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