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Ex-controller rekindles auditor controversy

Published January 26. 2012 05:01PM

The position of auditor in the controller's office, which has been a controversial issue between the former board of commissioners and controller surfaced again at the county salary board's meeting held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville.

Melinda Kantner, former county controller who was defeated for re-election last November, addressed the board during the public segment of the agenda. She identified herself as a resident of North Manheim Township.

Kantner revived the controversy which raged over the auditor position in her former office. She first congratulated the new board of commissioners, all three serve on the salary board, and wished them success and then revived the controversial subject.

She stated back in December 2008 the former board of commissioners took away an auditor from her office who had 24 years of experience and made him a fiscal officer in the commissioners' office. She claimed the commissioners and controller's positions are elected positions and independent of each other. She claimed when the commissioners refused to allow her to appoint an auditor she brought a mandamus action which was resolved in November 2010 by an agreement reached between the litigating parties for her to create a position known as accounts examiner. She said, "Now you plan to create the position of auditor."

She directed her remarks at Commissioner Frank Staudenmeier, who is now the chairman of the board. During the time of her tenure as controller he was the minority commissioner. She claimed he could have sided with her but had voted against her with the Democratic majority commissioners and she wanted to know why the change of heart.

Commissioner Staudenmeir gave a brief answer, "The controller's office has improved dramatically and we are able to work in harmony to bring about stability to county government."

The salary board approved the elimination of the position of account examiner and created the position of auditor in the controller's office. It also set the salary of the chief detective in the district attorney's office, eliminated the position of per diem registered nurse at Rest Haven Home and Hospital and also eliminated the position of temporary interim part time office support in the Human Resources Department.

The regular members of the salary board are Commissioners Frank Staudenmeir, George Halcovage and Gary Hess and Controller Christy Joy. District Attorney Karen Byrnes Noon sat on the board to vote on the salary of the chief detective who works out of her office.

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