Do not consolidate SLO County financial offices
May 13, 2013
Letter from KAREN ADAMS to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors
As the Merced County Treasurer-Tax Collector, I request that you do not approve the consolidation of Treasurer-Tax Collector with Auditor-Controller. I testified at the California Senate Local Government Committee Hearing “Prudence and Economy: Rethinking State Limits on County Offices” on March 17, 2010 and was published in their committee report opposing incompatible consolidations of offices.
The Committee’s White Paper also cites the “incompatibility” doctrine that exists when there is a “clash in duties”. It is unreasonable to suggest that any consolidation where the 1st party who provides “oversight” on the 2nd party can effectively continue to provide impartial value after the consolidation causes both previous parties to become one. These consolidations are not in the best interest of the taxpayers and have not been approved by the citizens through elections.
For a successful election to be held, the citizens should be made aware of the potential asset risk. A current example of potential loss due to lack of oversight was published in the July 2012 issue of Budget & Tax News. The article title “FBI Says Dixon Official Stole $53 Million.” reported the comptroller’s ability to embezzle over a period of 6 years.
While I am genuinely sympathetic about San Luis Obispo County’s budgetary constraints, I cannot support your consideration. I personally have experienced a consolidation which was not in the best interest of the Merced taxpayers. Initially the proposed consolidation was for Treasurer-Tax Collector and Auditor-Controller, but I successful provided evidence convincing the Board not to approve the incompatible “clash of duties” consolidation.
Eventually a consolidation of other offices under Treasurer-Tax Collector was approved without my support. The consolidation was not approved by the voters. Even though the clash of duties did not exist in my consolidation, there was a lack of adequate appropriations necessary to provide true efficiencies, oversight and management.
Please review the attached that was also provided to the Senate Local Government Committee. The California Association of Treasurer, Tax Collectors has proposed legislation that will eliminate consolidation issues without voter approval within the Code. It was my intention to speak personally before you on May 14th, but I have Merced County commitments that prevent me from appearing. I am available for questions.
Karen D Adams, CPA is the Merced County treasurer-tax collector.