Grand Jury report blasts county officials
The El Dorado County Grand Jury released two scathing reports District One Supervisor Ron Mikulaco and Auditor/Controller Joe Harn Wednesday, noting abrasive attitudes and inadequacies in the job.
The report on Mikulaco, who was elected in 2012 and represents El Dorado County’s western edge, notes he “lacks comprehensive awareness of his position as a county supervisor and fails to follow basic and general accepted principles of good governance.”
The report also calls the supervisor abrasive, combative and insulting to others, whether county residents or employees. The Grand Jury called Mikulaco out on spending several thousand dollars on executive coaching and having a satellite office in El Dorado Hills.
District Five has a satellite office in South Lake Tahoe, something the Grand Jury finds justified by region’s distance and weather disparities.
The price tag for the office, according to the Grand Jury, came to $19,200 for rent and an additional $2,400 in utilities. A $1,700 street sign had no record on the county books.
The report also admonished Mikulaco for spending his $250,000 allowance provided to county supervisors to pay employ two executive assistants instead of one.
In its recommendations, the Grand Jury recommended early termination of the El Dorado Hills satellite office, or alternatively, have Mikulaco fund it from his own pocket. Because of Mikulaco’s alleged behavior, the Grand Jury also recommended the Board of Supervisors censure him.
The Grand Jury noted in its report about Harn that the auditor/controller “creates problems, blames others for those problems and then leaks information about the problem and a scapegoat to the press.”
Harn has served as auditor/controller since he was first elected in 1994.
The report also said complaints received included allegations that Harn refuses to cooperate with the chief administrative officer or staff to fix problems and was a bully who targets individuals or departments for harassment.
The Grand Jury also called Harn out on not submitting the county’s corrected information technologies department costs to the California State Controller’s office for reimbursement. According to the Grand Jury this cost the county approximately $1.5 million in the 2014-2015 fiscal year and additional losses of more than $1 million in each of the two subsequent fiscal years.
The report also alleges Harn delayed or refused to make payments for personal and political motivation, that the Board of Supervisors has not ensured independence of the outside audit on the county’s financial statements and was guilty of harassment and disrespectful conduct toward county employees.
The Grand Jury recommended that the board establish an audit committee, allow the Grand Jury to participate in with the audit committee in the selection of an outside auditor and that the El Dorado County District Attorney investigate the allegations and findings against Hern and determine whether he should be removed from office and convene a criminal grand jury for that purpose.
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