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English sues Austin over wording of ballot question for city audit

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 by Audrey McGlinchy, KUT

Ed English is suing the city over the wording of a November ballot measure about a citywide audit.

Activists collected more than 30,000 signatures asking the city to hire a third party to conduct an efficiency audit of all its departments. City Council members voted Thursday to put the question to voters.

But supporters of the audit said the city’s ballot language is biased and would cause people to vote against the measure.

The lawsuit filed with the Texas Supreme Court on Monday also cites the ballot wording’s mention of the current auditor, implying she could do the audit rather than a third party. Attorney Bill Aleshire, who is representing English, cited an email where the city auditor said she typically doesn’t perform audits like this.

The suit also claims the estimated cost for the audit noted in the ballot question – $1 million to $5 million – is “misleading.”

Aleshire wants the court to force the city to rewrite the language before Aug. 20.

This story has been corrected to clarify that Aleshire is representing Ed English in the suit against the city, not suing the city himself.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT.

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