Delayed reports and concerns about their accuracy may lead to serious financial repercussions in Mendocino County. .
State Controller Malia Cohen announced Thursday her office has opened an audit of the county's required financial reports. According to Cohen's office, the audit comes following conversations with Mendocino County officials regarding the accuracy of financial statements.
The announcement came just more than a month after Mendocino County's board of supervisors discussed eliminating the county's elected assessor-recorder-tax collector-controller, with a county department of finance that would instead report to the board. The potential move would have to win voter approval.
Supervisor Glenn McGourty told colleagues at a meeting July 25th that the situation could lead to serious consequences.
"While we have hard working people, they don't always necessarily have the capacity to really deliver the information that we need, as supervisors. We have no control over them, since they are elected officials. We're kind of being held to task when something goes wrong like, money has not been properly allocated to pay our insurance premiums or reports don't occur on time for closing the books which then in turn has the cascading affect of negative reactions for certain departments who depend on the state for funding and they lose their ability to apply for grants."
In her defense, County Auditor-Controller/Treasurer-Tax Collector Chamise Cubbison, addressing the board at public comment, said the board had combined the auditor-controllers office with the treasurer tax collectors office, without a plan and over the objections of employees. She said several key staffers resigned or retired early in frustration, leaving the office understaffed and without support.
Mendocino County was recently issued a warning that its delinquent annual financial statements could impact its credit rating, up to the point of potential withdrawal.