The auditor’s report was not on the agenda of supes

Those waiting for a public verification of allegations of tax mismanagement Auditor-Comptroller Karen Paz Dominguez made at the March 1 meeting of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will have a little longer to wait.

After hearing Paz Dominguez report the “findings” of his ongoing review of the county’s finances, which included a long list of alleged improprieties and deficient tax audits, as well as some direct allegations of improprieties, the board developed a report complete and a discussion of the March 15 broadcast, asking Paz Dominguez to provide documents and evidence. But County Administrative Officer Elishia Hayes told the Newspaper that Paz Dominguez was “unable to complete his report” by the publication deadline for the March 15 meeting, so the matter will not be heard at that time.

Paz Dominguez tells Newspaper that Council Clerk Kathy Hayes was “very helpful in scheduling a special meeting to hear [the] point on Monday, March 21 at 9 a.m. ” But Paz Dominguez added that she “has made a commitment to the public that I will provide them with the relevant information on the 15th and I will keep this promise”, indicating that she plans to release the report tomorrow, even though the case will not be heard by the board.

Meanwhile, the final March 16 deadline for Paz Dominguez to complete the 2019-20 County Financial Transactions Report looms, with the California Attorney General’s office threatening to fine the auditor-controller $5,000. if she doesn’t respect it. The report is already more than a year overdue – with its 2020-2021 counterpart now also overdue – despite the state repeatedly requesting it.

Paz Dominguez previously told the Newspaper his office was considering “a realignment” of staff tasks to meet the deadline, with the CAO office offering additional assistance to complete the task.

The embattled auditor-controller, who faced votes of no-confidence from the Board of Supervisors, the County Workforce Development Board and the Fortuna City Council, alleged that audits Loose fiscal charges throughout the county had created many opportunities for fraud, which, coupled with sometimes poor cooperation from other departments and a shortage of staff in her office, prevented her from meeting state-mandated deadlines. Other county department heads, however, have strongly disputed this and point to poor communication from the Office of the Auditor-Comptroller as a major problem, while expressing growing concern that overdue tax reports will jeopardize state and federal funding streams.

Amanda J. Marsh