Letter for Tuesday, June 13, 2017

• Slashed budget makes finding auditor harder

Slashed budget makes finding auditor harder

I am writing to correct an error mis-attributing a statement to me in TGI’s June 2, 2017 editorial, “Council faces balancing act with budget.” The council did not remove the Office of the County Auditor, and I never made any such statement that it did.

What I did say was that the majority of the Council voted to remove almost $500,000 from the County Auditor’s budget, and that action would negatively affect our search for a County Auditor by sending the wrong message to prospective candidates. By slashing the budget for the County Auditor, the council made it harder to fill the position that has been vacant too long.

Included among the cuts was a reduction of the budgeted County Auditor’s salary to $1. See ​p. 149 of the FY18 County Budget​, Bill 2645, Draft 1. Even though the salary of $119,357 is guaranteed by law, a qualified candidate who is doing his/her homework by checking out the budget he/she will have to work with will not be reassured. Who would want to take a job under such circumstances?

Some reduction in the County Auditor’s budget to allow time for the executive search would have been reasonable, but the council’s budget amendment left nothing in the County Auditor’s budget to pay an auditor if we find someone mid-year. We could put back the money but without a new source of revenue we would take from the reserve in violation of our reserve policy.

Based on my experience doing executive searches as mayor, drastically reducing the County Auditor’s budget will move us backward rather than forward in trying to find a highly qualified internal auditor. I hope I am wrong, but it will be too late if I am right — the damage will already be done.

JoAnn Yukimura, Kauai County Council Member

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