Balancing the County’s Budget Deficits
on the Backs of Children
By Ray A. March
Aug. 22, 2001
A Michelson Ally Appears on the Horizon
The commission was occupied most of August 2001 polishing the concept paper and sub-committee workshops. There is no mention in the minutes of the Aug. 22, 2001 meeting of the issue of Prop. 10 Trust Funds.
The closest the commission came to venturing into the treasurer-auditor controversy was when Patricia Cantrall complained that Auditor Judi Stevens refused to pay Cantrall’s mileage for attending commission meetings.
Donna Michelson pointed out that the commission’s bylaws provided for mileage reimbursement.
It was at this meeting the commission voted to hire Kristin Domenichelli, a certified public accountant based in El Dorado County, to set up the commission’s ledgers and computerized bookkeeping.
Sept. 6, 2001
In a hand written note to CPA Kristin Domenichelli, Michelson said in reference to Carol Harbaugh’s earlier tactic to place Michelson under her authority, “There are no minutes stating that the board (commission) approved this change of status unilaterally by Carol Harbaugh. What the board approved was leaving the money with the county treasurer and auditor until these books (the current audit that was underway) were done.”
Sept. 19, 2001
The commission could not seat a quorum. While there was discussion on agenda items, the agenda was carried over to the commission’s Oct. 10 meeting.
However, documents reveal that acting chair Dr. Edward Richert appointed a subcommittee specifically mandated to “straighten out” Michelson’s employment benefits including taxes, deductions, unemployment insurance, retirement and health -- all still unresolved by the commission in the nine months Michelson had been its executive director.
Named to the subcommittee, according to documents, were Carol Harbaugh, Supervisor Patricia Cantrall and Michelson. It appears this subcommittee never met with county auditor Judi Stevens and an outside auditor, but that Harbaugh alone met with Stevens and relayed information second hand back to Michelson.
Oct. 2, 2001
An outside auditor, Lynn N. Talbott, Jr. of El Dorado Hills, was contracted to exam the Children and Families Commission’s books for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2001. While documents do not reveal to what extent, apparently Talbott appears to be associated with Kristin Domenichelli, also of El Dorado Hills, who would actually conduct the audit.
Next: Part 13
Public documents show that Judi Stevens overstepped the boundaries of her auditor’s office authority.