The Auditor-Controller is a jerk, and the Supervisors want his money

This lovely nugget about the operations of the  County of Humboldt came to light last week: our Auditor-Controller, Joe Mellett, is an apathetic waste of public funds, and the Board of Supervisors and County Administrative Office are trying to strip his department of any significant role in government.

This came after Mellet’s second in command, Karen Paz Dominguez, showed up for public comment at last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting and made a plea for help on behalf of the failing department.

LoCO has a more in-depth look at the issue here:

What’s Wrong at the Auditor-Controller’s Office? Understaffing? A Vendetta? Or Is It the Man in Charge?

What it comes down to is this: Mellett is no longer interested in his job, and acts like a total P.O.S. The interview he gave to LoCO is damning, and we’re honestly flabbergasted that he would go on record with much of what he said.

We love this absolute gem of a quote from our Auditor-Controller about his current approach to his job: ” Putting out fires and collecting a paycheck.”

But the bigger question, putting aside the incompetence and lack of interest displayed by our publicly elected Auditor-Controller, is this: would giving the duties of the Auditor-Controller to the CAO, or any other department, actually fix the problem?

As we all know, neither the CAO’s office nor our Board of Supervisors are particularly effective or financially competent.

So is Mellett’s charge that attempts to undermine his authority and the duties of his department are an attempted power grab by the Supes and the CAO accurate? THC tends to think so.

There was already one attempt to get rid of his office last year, when the Supes sent a measure to consolidate his department with the Treasurer-Tax Collector. (For  more on that: County Supervisors seek to create a new Finance Dictator at great cost to the public) Word on the street is that the County will try to send  similar measure to the vote in the near future, and are actively exploring methods to strip the Auditor-Controller of his powers without putting it to the public first.

Taken together, it  sure seems like Mellett’s allegations are founded. Streamlining departments for efficiency and reduced costs is all well and good.

But here’s the issue. You don’t fix the problem created by one elected official by doing away with the entire department – you elect a new person to do the job. Why would consolidating the powers of the Auditor-Controller department under the umbrella of equally dysfunctional leadership do anything but exacerbate the problem?

From the sound of it, Karen Paz Dominguez is angling herself to be the next Auditor-Controller. We at least hope that somebody gets a chance to turn the department around before the Supes or the CAO get their grubby hands on even more power and responsibility that they will most surely screw up.

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10 Responses to The Auditor-Controller is a jerk, and the Supervisors want his money

  1. Miss M says:

    Various Humboldt County agencies need to GO ON STRIKE! FORM A PICKET AND DEMAND MORE STAFFING IN THE Controllers -Auditors, Tax Collectors office, Revenue Recovery office and more staffing in other county offices. Under staffing is the problem and over paying people and under paying county staff members in Humboldt County. Re-evaluate the budget too. Whoever is in charge of deciding the budget plan is obviously giving far more income to certain people working for the county while under paying a lot of other county staff members. Look at the county workers that are receiving $200k per year. Count how many people are earning $150 to $200K and more per year in Humboldt County. Such as the Judge Gregory Elvine-Kreis who is a new inexperience judge!! A lot of people are questioning Gregory Elvine-Kreis inexperience yet he was handed the $200k per year job. While other people who apply for jobs are interrogated to the third degree in competitive job interviews for a wage $15.00 or less per an hour job and if those people don’t have the exact skills, experience, college training and know everything in the moment they don’t get the job!! Just ridiculous that other people are denied employment for a measley $15.00 or less per hours job and expect to have tons of experience or they don’t get the job. Then other people who are inexperienced are handed a job with a annual salary of $200k! Most people work themselves up to earn a substantial wage of $200 annually after years and years of working in the job. Gregory Elvine-Kreis he just recently obtained his law degree then is handed a $200k job per year! He should have worked his way up not just handed the damn job with a lucrative wage of close to a quarter million dollars a year! Look at other staff members who are receiving less than $30k per year and their job duties are similar and just the same as the staff members who are receiving $200k per year. It is obviously the budget funds are not being evenly appropriated. HUMBOLDT COUNTY STAFF MEMBERS SHOULD GO ON STRIKE! PLUS GET INVESTIGATORS FROM OUTSIDE AGENCIES TO DO INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS. CLEAN UP THE MESS PEOPLE!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Can anybody tell me the difference between Bonnie Neely and Virginia Bass?


    • Pizza Pizza says:

      That’s easy. Bonnie can hold her liquor.


    • Arcatan says:

      Ha ha. You’re both wrong. The single biggest place where Bonnie outshines Bass is her choice of husbands.


      • Paul K says:

        Sorry to be off topic but are you referring to former Mr. Bass number one, two, or three? Virginia gets around. My vote would be the current hubby Bass. I’ve never met the earlier ones but it’s hard to imagine them being worse.


    • Thanks for dropping by. While your question does indeed seem like it has possibilities for a future poll or post it’s a bit off topic. We’re curious about your thoughts on a missile defense outpost on the North Coast? It would certainly create a bizillion high paying union jobs and a sustainable economy for decades.



  3. Paul K says:

    Bonnie was actually a competent administrator whereas Bass, is well, not. I’m sure sorry I voted Bass the first time. At least I came to my senses and went for Kerrigan last time.


  4. Marie says:

    The first comment summarizes the real issue with the Auditor-Controllers’ Office. Allocation of resources. I personally have worked with Joe Mellet while I was employed for a local municipality. He was responsive , knowledgeable, and incredibly patient and helpful. Most people do not understand what responsibilities the office has – imagine being responsible for properly allocating (splitting hairs) taxes to multiple districts and municipalities for property taxes, special assessments, and bonds? Or state taxes sent to the county to be distributed to municipalities? Managing investments held for various municipalities and districts? Payroll and benefit administration (co-pays, deductions, contributions, etc) for all County employees with multiple bargaining agreements? Producing financial statements for the County? Processing accounts payable for multiple departments? Preparing the numerous complicated financial reports required by the State of California not to mention payroll taxes and reporting to state and federal agencies? The deadlines for mandatory reporting to multiple agencies is constant and relentless – such that taking any time off is difficult. Numerous financial audits also make time-off nearly impossible to schedule for more than 2-3 days at a time. Accounts payable is a nightmare because you are reliant upon numerous departments to process invoices in a timely manner to avoid late fees. Staff turnover due to stress and low wages just exacerbate the situation. And these are just the responsibilities that immediately come to mind – I am sure there is much more. Personally I think Joe Mellert deserves a medal for overseeing this department as long as he has AND that his successor is doomed for the same burn-out and frustration unless this office receives enough County resources to properly staff a very complicated and deadline driven department.


  5. Disillusioned says:

    Karen Paz Dominquez is an inexperienced, unqualified, irritating loud mouth kid. Do we need a new Auditor-Controller? we sure as hell do, but it ain’t her.


  6. Judge Elvine-Kreis is about to have his asinine decisions made public. He’s dumber than a mud fence and short. The high bench only makes him ‘feel’ taller.


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