Insider, outsider face off in the auditor-controller race | News

Kern County residents have two options in June for their next voter auditor-controller-county secretary record: internal or external.

Aimee Espinoza, a 45-year-old assistant auditor-driver, No. 2 in the office, and Mark McKenzie, a 65-year-old local businessman, are both on the ballot, and the candidate who receives 50 percent of the vote plus one will win. If no one gets a majority, they will both run in the November general election.

The auditor-supervisor is the chief fiscal officer of Kern County, and provides accounting, payroll, and auditing to county departments. The Provincial Secretary is responsible for issuing marriage licenses, registering notaries and processing other legal documents. Voter registration oversees regional elections and oversees voter registration.

For the first time since 1994, several candidates have been running for office, according to Auditor-Controller Mary Bedard, who will retire at the end of her current term after taking office in 2013.

There is no doubt that there is more control over how elections are conducted across the nation, after widespread allegations of voter fraud after the 2020 election have been widespread but unproven.

McKenzie, founder and CEO of Trestles Construction Solutions LLC and vice president of The Industrial Company (TIC), wants to reform the election office. He led a group of observers in the by-elections and saw “poor leadership, mismanagement and not necessarily … evidence of fraud, but certainly a lot of chances of fraud” as he watched the survey staff.

“As a citizen I was very concerned that it would be as usual,” McKenzie said, discussing his reason for running, noting how past office races have not been discussed.

Espinoza said there was no evidence of voter fraud and vowed to renew the election process to improve transparency and efficiency. He also noted that these renovations are underway.

“I think it’s really important that people count on their vote, that their voice is heard to be trusted,” Espinoza said. “And that (the elected) doesn’t bring his agenda.”


The path to candidacy was not easy for McKenzier: Bedard sued Kern County High Court to put his name on the ballot after saying he had no accounting degree or equivalent, as a requirement to be a candidate for auditors. driver-regional secretary-voter register.

Bedard wrote in an email that McKenzie took two accounting courses at the Colorado State University system, adding that these classes are not the equivalent of a master of accounting. McKenzie said he has a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in organizational leadership and a master’s degree in technology marketing.

Judge Thomas Clark sided with McKenzie, saying the candidate has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and has taken 45 credits. Bedard, who did not support a candidate, citing his role as voter registrar, put him on the ballot box as a result of the order.

“Personally, I think it’s unfortunate that a judge has accepted it,” McKenzie said. At California State University in Bakersfield, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from a concentration in accounting.

Espinoza says his opponent can’t answer very technical questions about accounting without direct experience. He started as an accountant in 2006 in the office of auditor-controllers and became chief accountant. Espinoza then left the office to work in the regional administration office, as an analyst in the budget division, and rose to the rank of senior prosecutor and political analyst. In July 2019, he was appointed assistant auditor-controller.

McKenzie said he has overseen the accountants and does not plan to do the data entry as an executive controller. Asked to answer top questions from his subordinate accountants, the employer said he was 100 percent sure he could answer those questions, “because he’s spent a considerable amount of time on the council’s budget” and has spoken out. Provincial Administration Office.

In terms of auditing experience, McKenzie said he has spent nearly 30 years in the industrial construction business to ensure that each site complies with standard practices. He said he had ensured that the various departments under his authority complied with the specific procedures.

McKenzie said he has a black Lean Six Sigma belt at Villanova University, which will help him meet his budget-tightening goal. According to the university’s website, the certificate teaches students about problem-solving methods, data collection and analysis processes, improving profit efficiency by increasing efficiency, and driving quality improvement initiatives.

With the election of the county secretary, McKenzie said he would have a number of ideas to ease the work process, as he had dealt with thousands of documents in his multi-million dollar construction projects. He declined to give a specific idea, but listened to “feedback” from friends who had difficulty obtaining documents.

Office ideas

Both candidates have said they will hold the council accountable as inspectors.

Espinoza said he wants more inspections throughout the region. Some departments were stripped of their credit card cuts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that was the right move, Espinoza said. However, it aims to ensure that all procedures are followed.

The Assistant Auditor-Controller wants to redesign the office’s website to make it more user-friendly, and to incorporate its office presence into other departments to ensure that the correct procedures are followed. If elected, Espinoza also wants to educate voters about the electoral process.

During his career as the region’s chief accountant, Espinoza said he has established a relationship with the Provincial Government’s Administrative Office, which will help him improve his own, if elected.

McKenzie said his university studies will allow him to innovate technology in the election office and that his leadership experience will help boost morale in the office.

Separate election office

During a lengthy discussion at the March 1 meeting, the Kern County Board of Supervisors received reports from some residents who had requested that the election office be removed from the auditor-controller.

McKenzie said he supports this move. Espinoza said he was “Swiss” or neutral on the issue, although he said he was in favor of a separation if it increased voter confidence. The auditor-driver’s office has stated that it has successfully organized the election.

“I’m not against that, but I don’t like it. ‘ “Whatever the will of the council … (and) the will of the people.”

Espinoza said he does not listen to those who believe “conspiracy theorists” or misinformation about the voting process because there is no fraud in Kern County. He has been helping to prepare for the election since 2006, including working on election day, and is familiar with state law governing elections.

This “experience thrown to the ground” sets him apart from his opponent, Espinoza said.

He added that the office has addressed complaints from residents by hiring more staff and redesigning the voting room to speed up the election certification process. Espinoza noted that the county has stopped processing votes before the state deadline and that COVID-19 has reduced the number of employees it employs, which has affected their effectiveness.

You can contact Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow him on Twitter at @ idesai98.

Insider, outsider face off in the auditor-controller race | News Source link Insider, outsider face off in the auditor-controller race | News

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