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Guide to the Archives of the City of Seattle

Record Group 1800
Office of the Comptroller

The Comptroller was responsible by City Charter for supervising the City's financial affairs including administration of the accounting system, payroll system, investments, and borrowing. The Office also maintained a general auditing function. The position of Comptroller was established by Charter in 1890 and was appointed by the Mayor. The 1896 City Charter designated the Comptroller the ex-officio City Clerk and made the position elective. A 1991 City Charter amendment abolished the positions of City Comptroller and City Treasurer and merged the two functions to create the Department of Finance in 1993. The City was served by just twelve Comptrollers during the office's 100 year existence: Chauncey W. Ferris, 1890-1892; J.M. Carson, 1892-1894; Will H. Parry, 1894-1900; Frank H. Paul, 1900-1902; John Riplinger, 1902-1906; Harry W. Carroll, 1906-1910 and 1912-1938; William Bothwell, 1910-1912; W.C. Thomas, 1938-1958; Carl G. Erlandson, 1958-1976; Edward L. Kidd, 1976-1979; Tim Hill, 1980-1985; and Norward J. Brooks, 1986-1992.


1800-01
Annual Reports

1889-1985
3.0 cubic feet

Annual report of financial condition of the city. Includes narrative and statistical recapitulation of financial transactions, investments, and funds management. Currently known as Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). Arranged chronologically.

SMA
Container List


1800-02
General Ledger

1886-1979
7.4 cubic feet

Continuing book of final entry for all city funds and accounts. Records are missing for the period 1948-1959.

SMA


1800-03
Legal Opinions

1897-1903
0.2 cubic feet

Legal opinions and correspondence from the Corporation Counsel relating to the Comptroller's financial and clerical functions.

SMA


1800-04
Auditing Committee Minutes

1890-1993
16.2 cubic feet

Proceedings and supporting documents of committee that reviews and recommends disposition of payroll and voucher claims and demands. Recommendations are made to City Council.

SMA
Box List


1800-05
General Journal

1876-1979
34 volumes

Book of original entry listing debits and credits by fund and account. This series was replaced by CFMS daily reports in 1980.

SMA


1800-06
Scrapbooks

1949-1978
3 volumes

Newspaper clippings and photographs relating to the activities of the Comptroller's office.

SMA


1800-07
Subject Files
1912-1991
8.4 cubic feet

Correspondence, memoranda, reports, committee records, and studies related to the administration of City finances. Includes materials of the Debt Management Policy Advisory Committee, Investment Committee, data processing planning, financial systems planning, and audits. Also includes records related to the City Clerk's functions including election administration and processing of initiative petitions.

SMA
Folder List


1800-08
Chauncey W. Ferris Correspondence

1889-1892
0.4 cubic foot

Correspondence of Chauncey W. Ferris, the first Comptroller of Seattle. Also includes correspondence from Ferris' tenure as City Clerk (1889-1890).

SMA


1800-09
Will H. Parry Correspondence

1898-1899
0.4 cubic foot

Correspondence of Will H. Parry, City Comptroller, relating to city investments, bonds, general finances, and purchasing.

SMA


1800-10
John Riplinger Correspondence
1905-1906
0.2 cubic foot

Correspondence of John Riplinger, City Comptroller, related to city finances, investments, and city purchases. Riplinger fled Seattle in 1906 after defaulting on 68,000 dollars in City funds. These records do not relate the defalcation.

SMA


1800-11
Payroll Registers

1908-1979
103 volumes

Payroll record for all City departments and offices. Includes employee name, department, occupation or job title, pay rate, amount paid, deductions, balance due, and warrant number. This series has been sampled by accessioning every tenth year.

SMA
Volume List


1800-12
Municipal Transportation System Revenue Bonds

1939-1942
0.6 cubic foot

Correspondence, legal opinions, and copies of legislation relating to a ten million dollar loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to modernize the Seattle Municipal Street Railway System. The City issued bonds to pay for the loan. The system was reorganized as the Seattle Transit System under the direction of the Seattle Transportation Commission. Included are documents outlining the organization and authority of the Commission.

SMA


1800-13
Audits

1968-1993
7.4 cubic feet

Reports and working papers compiled by the Comptroller's audit staff. The Comptroller had responsibility for conducting fiscal audits and in 1981 created a separate division for that function. Subjects of the audits were primarily consultant contracting, cash handling, concessionaire contracts, public corporations, and general accounting procedures. In 1992, the Audit Division was transferred to the Legislative Department and became the Office of the City Auditor.

SMA
Folder List


1800-14
Seattle Financial Management System Conversion Records

1984-1992
6.8 cubic feet

Development records for conversion of the City's financial management program from the Central Financial Management System (CFMS) to the Seattle Financial Management System (SFMS). Includes correspondence, planning and management committee minutes, status reports, RFPs, issue papers, agreements and contracts, specifications, and user training plans.

SMA
Folder List