A huge mahalo to our County Auditor Ernie Pasion and his staff for getting basically a 5-star rating from a nonpartisan peer group for their outstanding work from January 2011 to December 2012, a two-year period. And a big thank you to TGI and Tom LaVenture for making it known to the public.
The Peer Review Guide covered every aspect of what is expected of the Auditor. Quote, “The report observations said the office EXCELLED with implementing changes to comply with standards and that audit staff EXCELLED at professional growth and certification.”
We citizens of Kauai, particularly those of us who stay active with government operations, are so grateful to know that we have an auditor’s office who did six outstanding audits in just two years and did them so well that the Association of Local Government Auditors’ peer review group not only approved of what they did but gave them accolades for going above and beyond what was expected of them. For a start up operation, Pasion and his staff did not just do simple audits such inventory counts or doing cash counts but did audits dealing with complex issues.
And, this writer in particular salutes Mr. Pasion for his accomplishments as he was one of the biggest doubters that Ernie could ever be the completely neutral person that this position required. He had been our deputy county clerk for almost 13 years before our council by a wise, unanimous 7 to 0 vote hired him as the first auditor for the county.
My concerns, as the biggest doubter of him, were that Mr. Pasion would put his personal feelings of an audit before the way an audit should be done objectively according to the “Yellow Book,” County Charter or State Constitution. He took his oath of office and has been doing the job of a county auditor accordingly.
But I could have never been more wrong.
He and his staff did an audit on our county roads, an issue I had pursued for 18 years. I gave them hundreds of pages of research showing gross inefficiencies in the construction and resurfacing of our roads and they ran with it. Their report came back in a clear concise booklet showing the many problems associated with our roads that truly needed fixing. Their other five audits were the same and the reports were easy for any lay person to read and interpret. My reading of the Roads Maintenance Audit is that the county administration agreed entirely with their findings and recommendations. However, most of the recommendations to their findings on the audits have yet to be implemented by the county administration and the county council.
All of us can only hope that this dedicated auditor and his staff are given whatever budget they need to continue their valuable work that will save our government millions of dollars. The energy audit reported that if the county implemented the recommendations of the Cost Control Commission, the county could have saved 1.3 million dollars.
A county manager would be a great asset to our auditor to help put some teeth into any of his negative findings, teeth that are not now available. A county manager form of county government would, in my opinion, eliminate the back and forth unproductive politics between the executive and the legislative branches of our county government.
Bravo again to Mr. Pasion and his staff as they have proven to be the watchdogs that we so badly need.
• Glenn Mickens is a Kapaa resident.