Beaufort County Council proposed the ballot question on whether the treasurer and auditor should be appointed, not elected. The treasurer is our "banker" and is responsible for collecting and disbursing tax payments, which are included in the county's external audit. Our current treasurer has done a good job and would most assuredly become a valued member of the county's financial team. The auditor is a misnomer; the office is highly clerical and isn't audited.
These are not policy positions, but rather are technical and administrative financial positions to be filled by highly qualified individuals. They should be hired and managed by the county administrator as we do with the rest of our financial team and other professionals employed by the county.
I estimate that a third of the $1.5 million cost of these offices would be eliminated. With the county hiring, incompetence would be reduced. Protecting the county from incompetence has taken an inordinate portion of the county's chief financial officer's time. That could be reduced.
Accountability to the voters would be ongoing through the elected council rather than once every four years at election time. It is extremely difficult for voters and potential challengers to evaluate performances in these offices. They become invisible, life-time positions unless there is a major problem, such as the embezzlement under the former treasurer. All too often, these elected officials work a very limited schedule, have minimal public contact and are routinely re-elected by the political party in power.
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Please vote "yes" on the referendum.
Stu Rodman, chairman
Beaufort County Council
Hilton Head Island