Auditor, Supervisors Squabble Just Keeps Going in Linn County

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

Linn County Auditor Joel Miller gives copies of a report regarding iMaint and former contract employee J. Clarahan to the Linn County Board of Supervisors (from left) Linda Langston, Lu Barron, John Harris and Ben Rogers during a meeting at Linn County West in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, May 23, 2012. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette-KCRG)


By Dave Franzman

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The ongoing flap between Linn County Auditor Joel Miller and Linn County Supervisors appears ready to go on for a while longer.

On Monday morning, supervisors agreed to put a resolution on the formal agenda Wednesday. That resolution, if approved then, would direct the county’s finance director to come up with policies that the Linn County Auditor would need to follow in processing county payroll and accounts payable. Supervisors in the past have complained that the auditor’s office is not sticking to the budget when paying expenses.

Auditor Miller did not speak about that issue during the comment session at Monday’s work session. But later he described it as yet another attempt by the board to rein in his efforts investigate the county’s bills and transactions.

Supervisor Lu Barron, after the meeting, also noted that the most recent district court decision, being appealed by Miller, said the Auditor’s office does not have the authority to conduct audits of other county departments unless specifically requested by supervisors.

Both Barron and Miller described the relationship between the elected officials as strained. Barron even agreed the better term was "dysfunctional."

"I would say it's pretty dysfunctional, yeah I would agree with that. We've tried believe me," Barron said.

Auditor Miller said "everything's functioning just fine--everything's getting done that needs to get done. We're disagreeing on the political side. It's really just about control. It's a turf war in some respects."

But both also agreed the infighting between the board and auditor has not really impacted local taxpayers since county government continues to function. However, Barron did say that the ongoing squabbling between the auditor and board is taking up staff time as both sides battle over interpretation of court and county rules.

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