Auditor candidates narrowed to two: County has been without an auditor five months

  • Kierkiewicz

A County Council subcommittee searching for a county auditor has narrowed the list to two mainland candidates.

Tyler Benner, the performance auditor for the city of Spokane, Washington, and John Cashmon, a retired auditor from New Britain, Connecticut, prevailed over an original list of 11 qualified candidates for the $126,420 position.

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“Throughout this process, both candidates have demonstrated in-depth understanding of the auditing universe and have concrete ideas for how to work in strategic partnership with county departments and agencies to strengthen local government’ s ability to serve,” ad hoc committee Chairwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz said in a report on the County Council’s agenda for Wednesday. “Both conveyed a genuine determination to fully immerse themselves in Hawaii Island’s community and culture, and to give back in ways that uplift our island and its people.”

North Kona Councilman Holeka Inaba, Hamakua Councilwoman Heather Kimball and Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy also served on the committee.

The six-page report doesn’t provide background information about the two candidates; Kierkiewicz said that would come later, when the full council sets a date for interviews. Because of the state Sunshine Law, the council won’t be able to discuss the substance of the nominations at Wednesday’s meeting, but will just file the report for future action.

Cashmon, the former auditor for the San Diego Unified School District, could not be reached for comment Friday. Benner declined comment, saying it was “a little premature at this point.”

The county has been without a permanent auditor since Oct. 31, when Bonnie Nims left the county. Audit Analyst Maxinne Pacheco has assumed the duties in the interim.

Among Nims’ notable audits included investigations into county pCard use, county hiring practices, cash-handling at the Mass Transit Agency, water backup plans by the Department of Water Supply and inventory control at the Department of Public Works. The audits resulted in changes to county procedures, and one, the audit on hiring practices, won a national award.

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The county charter gives the council sole discretion on choosing an auditor, who serves a six-year term, subject to termination for cause by a two-thirds council majority.

The auditor must “possess adequate professional proficiency for the office demonstrated by relevant certification, such as certification as a certified internal auditor or certified public accountant or an advanced degree in a relevant field, and at least three years of general auditing experience which shall include a minimum of one year’s experience in the field of government auditing,” according to the charter, which adds, “a certified internal auditor or certified public accountant shall be preferred.”

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