In the November 2002 General Election, the voters demanded accountability in city government when it overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the city charter creating an independent City Auditor. This was precipitated by the council's desire to strengthen the auditing function in city government and ensure that the agencies and programs of the city are held to the highest standard of accountability to the public. The charter affords the auditor the independence to initiate work under the auditor's authority and to consider requests for work from the council. Chapter 5 Revised Charter of Honolulu (RCH) establishes the powers of the City Auditor.
Section 3-502, RCH, permits the auditor to have full, free, and unrestricted access to any city officer or employee and grants authorization to examine and inspect any record of any agency or operation of the city, to administer oaths and subpoena witnesses and compel the production of records pertinent thereto.