Controller Melinda Kantner failed to win re-election but came out victorious in a lawsuit filed against her by the Schuylkill County Commissioners, with whom she has been having disputes for the full four years she has been in office.

The commissioners, through their attorney, filed a motion in the county court to withdraw a mandamus action they had filed against Kantner. Judge John J. Domalakes signed an order granting the motion and dismissed the action. A non-jury trial had been scheduled for Dec. 19.

The commissioners filed an action in mandamus asking the court to compel Kantner to pay the balance of $4,800 owed to Samuel Deegan, Pottsvile, a certified public accountant hired by the commissioners to perform an external audit of county expenditures.

Deegan was hired by the commissioners on Dec. 31, 2009, to perform audits for the years of 2009-10-11-12 and was to receive $60,000 divided in three installments of $18,000 plus a final payment of $6,000.

Kantner had problems dealing with Deegan, claiming he didn't have the expertise to perform county audits, while he claimed she withheld accounts from him and he could not complete the job.

Under the law the controller must file an audit report not only to the county court but also to the state. She hired an outside firm to help her prepare the audit and deducted the cost from what Deegan was to receive under the contract.

The county now has withdrawn the suit. Kantner never paid Deegan the $4,800.

Kantner was initially elected controller four years ago as a Democrat, but she differed with the Democratic-controlled commissioners office over the past four years and the Democrats would not support her for re-election. Kantner then ran as an Independent, but finished third in the voting in the general election last Tuesday.

The Republican party gained control of the commissioners' office and controller's office in the election. The new controller will be Christy Joy.