Sunday, July 31, 2016
[El Dorado County] No charges filed against El Dorado County auditor-controller
Blog note: this article references a grand jury report recommending a district attorney investigation that might lead to the auditor-controller being removed from office.
An investigation by the state attorney general’s office into allegations regarding the conduct of El Dorado County’s auditor-controller, Joe Harn, has concluded with no charges filed, according to El Dorado County officials.
The county issued a brief news release Thursday announcing the conclusion of the investigation that stemmed from allegations in a 2014-15 county grand jury report regarding Harn’s conduct.
The grand jury recommended that the district attorney investigate the allegations and findings in the report to determine whether Harn should be removed from office. It also recommended that the district attorney consider impaneling a criminal grand jury for that purpose.
“Out of an abundance of caution and in order to avoid the appearance of any conflict, the District Attorney referred the matter to the state Attorney General to conduct the investigation,” Creighton Avila, a county spokesman, said in an email. “The Attorney General has concluded their investigation and will take no further action.”
Avila said the attorney general’s office did not provide a written report of its findings but rather informed the county via email that it had concluded the investigation and no charges would be filed. He said the specific allegations are confidential and declined to say whether the investigation involved allegations other than those in the grand jury report.
The grand jury report alleged that the auditor-controller:
▪ Failed to submit a complete and correct cost allocation plan to the state of California, resulting in a loss of more than $1 million in federal reimbursement for fiscal year 2013-14 and additional losses in succeeding years.
▪ Is more focused on placing blame on others for problems than working with them to resolve problems.
▪ Delays or refuses payments for political or personal reasons.
▪ Refused to release an audit of the Public Guardian when the findings did not support his criticism of that office.
▪ Fails to comply with reporting requirements.
▪ Fails to adhere to basic principles of human resources management.
▪ Is guilty of bullying others.
The county retained the law firm of Prentice, Long & Epperson to provide investigative services on an as-requested basis, with the amount of the contract not to exceed $60,000, Avila said, adding that services under that contract have concluded.
July 21, 2016
The Sacramento Bee
By Cathy Locke