by Lake County News-Chronicle
April 12, 2013 at 6:52 am in Lake County News-Chronicle
Tags: letter to the editor, Opinion 2 Comments »
As usual, Mr. Broin….right on and straight to the point!
There is no way the residents of this county should allow the Auditor-Treasurer position to be appointed by the Board of Commissioners. Particularly when a watchful eye on the county’s finances during tough economic times is such a necessity. As I understand from reading the state auditor annual reports on the county’s financial management, there is plenty of room for improvement. This is not a criticism of the current office holder, but things have changed and all government bodies, more than ever, need an independent and aggressive watchdog to monitor and challenge their operations.
For example, there must also be a critical eye kept on the $70 million County Broadband Project (actually, it could be closer to $100 million over the next 19 years), and a concerted, transparent and regular effort made to keep the county residents updated on the financial condition of the project.
I don’t have as strong an opinion on the Recorder position, but the county definitely needs an independent voter-chosen candidate to keep an eye on its finances!
Folks should be writing and calling their representatives at the state legislature on this one. As I understand, however, enough voters can sign a petition to force the county board to hold a referendum on this proposal, even if passed by the legislature.
C’mon people, start your letters, calls and emails before it is too late!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 21 2
Thanks for your kind words.
The following comments are quoted from the Minnesota Association of County Officers:
1. “The majority of county auditors and treasurers are elected while some counties have decided to appoint their officers.”
2. and, with regard to Auditor-treasurers, “The tasks completed by these individuals are critically important for accurate, fair and open county government.”
To the best of my ability to discern, there has been no board of commissioners attempt to publically justify making a change from elected office to appointed office for our Auditor-Treasurer. I would have expected to see arguments, pro and con, on the county web site, as well as an position paper given to the Chronicle for publishing. Maybe even a formal public discussion meeting, well advertised.
The timing of this move also seems interesting, particularly when the board of commissioners has been having some difficulty getting a controversial $70+ million dollar Broadband project moving forward. In fact, very little formal financial justification analysis, except from private sector parties, has been made available to the public. The data that has been worked, tends to show the project is highly risky in terms of potential financial return. This return is absolutely necessary for repaying $56.4 million in government loans, and somewhere around a minimum of $3.5 million in Lake County taxpayer funds.
The original project management group was replaced. The project is presently under investigation by a federal legislative committee. Now, numerous operational issues, such as pole ownership, industry fiber line pole attachment standards and pole leasing costs, have arisen. However, with all good intentions, the county marches on.
But where could an in-depth presentation of the financial aspects of this broadband project, and any other expenditures of the county be coming from? A new perspective might come from a new Auditor -Treasurer re-aligning some of the priorities of the office.
You are correct about the state auditor’s reports. They make an interesting read. I agree with you, this is no forum on the incumbent Auditor-Treasurer. My personal experiences with this office and its leadership have always been highly satisfactory and very professional.
Regardless, it still remains my position, the residents of Lake County would be better served by an independently elected Auditor-Treasurer, rather than one appointed by the board of commissioners. If the voters can be trusted to elect competent commissioners, they can be trusted to do the same with the office of Auditor-Treasurer.
If that is not the case, why doesn’t the county just hire an independent search firm to chose all our officials? We could save a lot of time, money and aggravation getting rid of the election process entirely.
Like or Dislike: 13 2
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