In an unprecedented move, Madera County Auditor/Controller Marcia Hall submitted her resignation to the Board of Supervisors early Wednesday morning following her defeat in Tuesday’s election.
After being appointed to the Madera County Auditor/Controller position in Dec. 2011, and spending two years working on complete several previously delayed audits, it took Marcia Hall just a few hours to pack her things and vacate her office following the results of Thursday’s June 3, primary election.
According to statements made to the Madera Tribune, Hall’s decision to resign rested solely on her families needs citing her commitment to her family as the main reason for leaving prior to the completion of her term.
“Obviously, we are disappointed with the results, but the Madera County voters have spoken,” Hall said in a prepared statement.
Prior to the June 3 election, Hall was under scrutiny for several questionable matters including residency issues and in-house lawsuits.
An article written in Big Valley News on March 25, 2014 accused Hall of defrauding Madera County by living, and filing home owner-occupied taxes in Merced while working in an elected Madera County position
According to elected county office qualifications, no matter whether the officer is elected or appointed, the holder of an elected county office must reside in the county of which they work. If appointed, the Board of Supervisors reserves the right to wave the residency qualification until an official election is conducted.
Detailed reports showed Hall owned a home and lived in Merced when she was appointed by the board of supervisors in a 3-2 vote in December of 2011.
It should be noted that the board was aware of her residency issues at the time of her application for appointment and upon legal advisement, in a unanimous vote, chose to waive the residency requirement until her potential re-election in June, 2014.
According to Hall, she had a difficult time finding a home to rent but finally found one inside Madera County, near the Chowchilla golf course, where she claimed residency throughout her campaign.
Other accusations include untimely reports which stood to cost the county millions in lost revenue, something Hall credited to the culture prior to her arrival.
A last minute discussion was placed on Tuesday’s Board of Supervisor’s agenda to address the direction regarding the vacancy in the Auditor/Controller’s Office, including the possibility of appointing Miller to the position prior to him being sworn in.
County Council Doug Nelson said it was too soon to know who might be qualified to be appointed for the interim position, but made it clear that filling the position was of the utmost importance.
“We have to have someone appointed relatively soon so that we can continue the functions of the office,” Nelson said. “Someone needs to be the auditor.”
District 5 Supervisor, Tom Wheeler, restated the importance of recognizing Hall’s resignation and moving forward. This year’s audit, if completed by its mid-July deadline, will be the first yearly audit to be submitted on-time in roughly a decade, Wheeler said.
“We are closer to being all caught up [on audits] than we have been in ten years. We have been fighting it and we are so close it’s not funny,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler said he is confident in Miller’s ability to continue cleaning up the inconsistencies that caused so many delays throughout the auditor’s office and forfeited county funding.
“We cannot wait for January, I think we need to just move forward and move on,” Wheeler said. “I don't want to miss that date. I hope everyone is on board and we can get it completed on-time.”
Hall is the third Madera County auditor-controller to resign in the past five years and her resignation comes two years after the resignation of Hall’s predecessor, Janet Kroeger.
Madera County Chief Administrative Officer, Eric Fleming, said he was caught off guard by Hall’s resignation and believes Hall’s time and hard work in her time in office wasn't for nothing.
“I don’t know why she resigned but I think she has done a good job up to this point,” Fleming said. “She made obvious improvements in getting us caught up on our yearly audits.”
According to Fleming, Assistant Auditor/Controller Karl Noyes has temporarily taken over day-to-day operation until the board can come up with an interim auditor/controller to fill the position until January.
Fleming will personally recommend Noyes be placed into that interim position, noting his knowledge and experience as the main reasons for his endorsement.
“Karl Noyes has reassured me that progress will continue and he has stepped up to take on day-to-day responsibilities,” Fleming said.
In the meantime, in lieu of Halls absence, the Board of Supervisors will make a decision during Tuesday’s board meeting to decide the best route to temporarily fill the position until the elected auditor controller, Todd Miller, is officially sworn-in.
Miller planned to train under the supervision of unnamed out-of-county auditor to obtain the proper information and gain the techniques necessary to be a county auditor. According to Wheeler, if appointed early, the board might be willing to give Miller the time needed to get up to speed.
Miller, who recently defeated Hall in the election for the Madera County auditor-controller by a 56% to 43% vote, said he is ready to take office whenever he is requested.