During my many years as Thurston County Treasurer and Washington state Treasurer, I reviewed numerous financial audits. In fact, I was internal auditor to state Treasurer Robert S. O’Brien. Audits are important because they provide accountability. So when I read recent reports of state audits of the Thurston County Auditor’s Office, I was very concerned. The person responsible for reporting was Gary Alexander.
Among the deficiencies was a $1.3 million understatement of general fund revenues and a $1.4 million understatement of general fund expenditures. In addition, an asset adjustment was overstated by $11.6 million. The county auditor’s financial department, under Gary Alexander’s watch, was not conducting internal audits. What was finance deputy Alexander doing, besides serving in his other job as a state representative? Former Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman was forced to add an internal auditor to address this problem.
What was Alexander’s first budget action after his appointment as auditor? He recommended audit staff eliminations even though the internal auditor position had recently been filled by Wyman. That person quit and took another job. The internal audit position remains vacant. Who is watching the county’s books?
This is not a D-vs.-R discussion. This is a matter of competence. Alexander’s recent series of audit findings is totally unacceptable.
This is not the kind of fiscal responsibility that I want from my county auditor, and that’s why I am voting for Mary Hall for Thurston County Auditor.