Unlikely alliance continues to support county auditor


“Call the Tune” by Mike Anthony
Executive Editor

Mike Anthony

In an unlikely alliance, 6th District County Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-Oakville, has joined three council Democrats in suing County Executive Steve Stenger over staffing the county auditor’s office.
Trakas joined council Chairman Sam Page, D-Creve Coeur, 1st District Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City, and 4th District Councilwoman Rochelle Walton Gray, D-Black Jack, in filing the lawsuit against Stenger, County Counselor Peter Krane and acting Personnel Director Sue Daniels.
The lawsuit is not a surprise, as Trakas joined the three council Democrats in approving a resolution Oct. 3 stating they would file suit if Stenger did not agree to hire more auditors for the office of county Auditor Mark Tucker. The same four voted in February to hire Tucker.
The suit contends the county budget includes funding for two additional auditors, and alleges Stenger has refused to fill the two posts.
Tucker has come under fire from Stenger, who has called 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.
Yet Trakas and the three Democrats who voted to hire Tucker remain unfazed by Stenger’s concerns.
Page believes Tucker is eminently qualified for the $85,000-a-year job and has been hindered in his duties only by a lack of staff.
Trakas voted to hire Tucker because he saw him as an independent check on Stenger.
“I’m optimistic that he will be able to perform the task that he was hired for,” Trakas previously told the Call.
As we’ve noted before, Trakas’ remark isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of Tucker’s ability to perform the duties for which he was hired.
Disappointingly, Trakas joins the three council Democrats in continuing to support Tucker.
“The absence of audits isn’t proof of lack of qualifications,” Trakas said. “Had we had an assistant auditor in place, we would have had at least one audit in place by now, perhaps two.”
Given Tucker’s two-page MetroLink study that lacked such specifics as how many times Tucker rode MetroLink trains and at what times, we have to question Trakas’ assessment of the auditor’s abilities.
Once again, we believe Trakas and the three council Democrats should rescind their support of Tucker and vote to fire him.