I strongly endorse Jennifer Christensen for Santa Barbara County Auditor and Controller. We are in desperate need of having a person in this position who can protect our taxes, will stand up to the Board of Supervisors and Unions in order to contain our spiraling unfunded liabilities and deficits, and put in place safeguards to avoid the embarrassing destructive 10-year embezzlement of county funds of over $2 million. The embezzlement occurred under the watch of Betsy Schaffer and was only detected by a part-time employee who recognized the irregularity. The lack of internal security and oversight is hard to fathom.
On May 15, 2018, the Board of Supervisors were asked to approve a contract for SEIU 721 that provides for pay increases through 2021. In the board letter for May 15, the Auditor-Controller says, “Auditor-Controller concurrence as to form did not include a review of this fiscal analysis, which was performed by CEO Budget.” The office responsible for the review, the Auditor-Controller, did not even review the fiscal impact.
The statement is most disturbing in light of the fact that on May 9, 2018, SEIU 721 donated $4,000 to Betsy Schaffer, assistant auditor-controller, and Jennifer Christensen’s opponent. Where are the ethics in the Auditor-Controller’s office? We deserve much better and a full review of the oversight, safeguards, and conflicts of interest. I’m certain Christensen is fully prepared and able to provide this much-needed review.
Jennifer Christensen has proven to be a well-educated and productive guardian of our county investments. She will bring a needed new perspective to a department that has been lax in controlling expenses and financial safeguards. With the issues facing Santa Barbara County, we truly need the expertise of Jennifer Christensen.