Tucker close to one year on the job; still no audits

Tucker+close+to+one+year+on+the+job%3B+still+no+audits

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

Mike Anthony

County Auditor Mark Tucker is fast approaching his one-year anniversary of employment, but we question whether taxpayers have received their money’s worth for his $85,000 salary.

Tucker, who began his duties March 6, has yet to produce a single audit. That’s right, after nearly a year of employment, the county auditor has not released an audit. In the real world, not doing the job for which you were hired would get you fired.

But not in county government, where Tucker continues to enjoy the support of those who hired him — Chairman Sam Page, D-Creve Coeur; 1st District Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City; 4th District Councilwoman Rochelle Walton Gray, D-Black Jack; and 6th District Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-Oakville.

Not only does this unlikely alliance of Republican Trakas and Democrats Page, Erby and Gray continue to back Tucker, but the four also filed a lawsuit last fall that seeks to force County Executive Steve Stenger and two other county officials to bow to the council members’ wish to add auditors to Tucker’s office.

Stenger, who has termed the lawsuit a waste of taxpayers’ money, continues to call on the County Council to terminate Tucker because he has yet to produce an audit, has no auditing or accounting experience and has a $91,000 federal tax lien on his house.

In an executive order last month, Stenger cut the County Council’s 2018 budget, which the council had increased in December while cutting every other department’s spending.

For the past decade, the auditor’s office staff has included the auditor and one other employee.

“… The county executive concludes that thoughtful management of spending requires the auditor’s office expenses for salary be frozen at the 2017 levels, which will still allow the auditor to increase his staff to the auditor plus two individuals because the auditor failed to hire two additional staff in 2017 even though he had the funding and authority to do so …,” the order stated.

Trakas has said that he voted to hire Tucker because he saw him as an independent check on Stenger.

Quite frankly, given Tucker’s apparent inability to perform the basic duties of his job, one might believe that the county executive would welcome Tucker’s continued presence.

We again call on Trakas and the three council Democrats to rescind their support of Tucker and vote to terminate him as an anniversary gift to county taxpayers.