Kathleen (Kathy) Patterson, former 3-term D.C. Councilmember, became D.C. Auditor on December 15, 2014, after being nominated and confirmed unanimously by the D.C. Council. Patterson comes to ODCA after working for nearly eight years for the Pew Charitable Trusts, first as federal policy director for Pre-K Now, a 10-year Pew campaign that succeeded in doubling state investments in high-quality voluntary pre-k across the country, then as a director in Pew’s Government Relations department. Her work for Pew included outreach to federal and state policymakers on a wide range of public policy issues including performance budgeting, home visiting, dental care for children, election reform, and corrections reform.
Patterson was elected to the D.C. Council from Ward 3 in 1994, was re-elected in 1998 and 2002, and ran unsuccessfully for Council chairman in 2006. She chaired the committees on Government Operations, Judiciary, and Education, Recreation and Libraries. She was part of the leadership that brought the District out of financial crisis in the mid-90s and earned a reputation for effective oversight of executive branch agencies. Her major legislation included smoke-free D.C., the First Amendment Rights and Police Standards Act of 2004 governing policy practices handling demonstrations, school modernization, personnel reform, and authorization for public charter schools. Council reforms she initiated included the legislature’s annual performance hearings, authorization for special investigations, and a separate Council budget office.
Patterson is a former newspaper reporter including serving as a Washington correspondent for the Kansas City Star, and former communications director for the American Public Welfare Association. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master’s in English from Georgetown University.
Our report shares the good news that DC Health has done a lot right in collecting and reporting COVID-19 data and has demonstrated a continued interest in improving its current procedures compared to other jurisdictions. As we consider improvements, we would be remiss if we didn’t repeat the recommendation that when the pandemic abates, the District should undertake a full review of the COVID-19 response to confirm what’s been learned so we can improve for the future. In the meantime, here are some areas we hope are not overlooked and want to explore.