Stenger’s call to terminate auditor right on the money

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“Call the Tune” by Mike Anthony
Executive Editor
news1@callnewspapers.com

County Executive Steve Stenger earlier this month called upon the County Council to fire county Auditor Mark Tucker, who began his duties March 6.
In a Sept. 5 letter to County Council Chairman Sam Page, D-Creve Coeur, Stenger questioned Tucker’s qualifications to serve as auditor, writing, “(Tucker) has no accounting experience whatsoever; I had cautioned you and the County Council against hiring him for this very reason.”
The county executive also noted that Tucker has produced no audits since being hired and cited a $91,496 federal tax lien against Tucker that dates back to 2011. Those aren’t exactly the qualities that inspire confidence in someone being paid $85,000 a year to help ensure the county is being fiscally responsible. Yet Tucker remains on the “job,” so to speak. But we — and many others — are having a hard time figuring out exactly what Tucker has done to earn his paycheck, given the lack of time he spends at the office.
Tucker declined to be interviewed by the Call’s Gloria Lloyd. He told another publication that he has to work nights and weekends. But Lloyd reports today that a review of Tucker’s badge logs through Aug. 29 shows that he worked one weekend day.
During his first 20 work days in office, he missed eight days.
Furthermore, county documents show he has not taken any paid time off, the county’s version of vacation and sick days.
To his credit, Tucker has “developed” the county’s request for proposals, or RFP, for its annual Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, something that he described as an almost herculean task that required him to rewrite the entire document because previous RFPs weren’t up to snuff.
However, county Administrative Director Pamela Reitz wrote in a memo, “The changes between the 2013 RFP and the RFP written by Mark Tucker are fairly minor …”
Besides Page, 6th District Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-Oakville, 4th District Councilwoman Rochelle Walton Gray, D-Black Jack, and 1st District Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City, voted to hire Tucker as county auditor.
Trakas recently told the Call that he continues to support Tucker.
“I’m optimistic that he will be able to perform the task that he was hired for,” he said.
That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. The four council members who hired Tucker should rescind their support and vote to fire him.