Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Once a Ward 3 member on the D.C. Council, Patterson has been D.C.’s auditor since 2014, when the D.C. Council unanimously confirmed her. She works at the pleasure of the legislative body and has the autonomy to conduct performance audits of city government agencies, calling out waste, abuse, fraud, and any manner of other chicanery. A former senior Washington correspondent for The Kansas City Star
, she remains driven to find out what’s going on and report it—at least in the fiscal sense. Her role does have an inherent weakness in that elected officials and mayoral administrations can choose to ignore her findings. Still, she may be the most honest public official in D.C. If only all of the representatives we elect were more like her.