County auditor in Missouri issues no audits for year
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — A county auditor in eastern Missouri hasn’t produced one audit since being appointed a year ago.
The majority of St. Louis County Council members voted in February 2017 to hire Mark Tucker as the auditor for the county of about a million people despite his not having any auditing experience. Tucker said audits are underway, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that there’s little evidence any are far along.
The auditor has repeatedly declined to answer the newspaper’s questions about his responsibilities.
Tucker and some council members have blamed County Executive Steve Stenger for blocking the auditor’s office from accessing critical records and hiring staff members. Tucker has had the funding to hire two staffers, but only hired an assistant last week.
“While intimidation and personal attacks by the County Executive have attempted to undermine this office’s work, I am not letting the County Executive prevent this office from moving forward on ensuring accountability and protecting taxpayer dollars,” Tuckers wrote in an email.
Stenger has called Tucker’s allegation absurd, saying the auditor hadn’t asked any county department for records until late January.
Stenger has criticized Tucker’s appointment from the beginning and has repeatedly called for his firing.
“I felt that given his inability to audit and given his lack of any kind of accounting experience and given that his only experience was that of a lobbyist, I don’t think Mark Tucker is here to audit,” he said. “I think he’s here to do politics, and I think he does political research.”
Council Chairman Sam Page said Tucker was a significant resource to the council by helping analyze Stenger’s budget proposals at the end of last year.
“If he completes his audit plan, he will be the most ambitious auditor in recent county history,” Page said. “And if he doesn’t, then we are all going to be talking about that when it comes time to renew his contract.”
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com