As explained on the County webpage, "The Controller is elected and is independent of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The Controllers Office conducts financial and performance audits of agencies receiving, disbursing or authorizing the disbursement of County funds, as well as the records of contracted service providers. Office activities and accomplishments are summarized in the Controller's Annual Report to County Council."
It is a full-time position with a salary established by ordinance at $65,000. Some Council members think it's time to return the position to part-time status because it's hard to find accountants willing to work full time for just $65,000.
Barron has had frayed relations with NorCo Council as well. In 2010, he was censured after participating in a pro-union rally outside of the T-Mobile Call Center, and threatened repercussions when company officials refused to meet with him. He also got into hot water when he was caught teaching two classes at Northampton community College in the middle of the work day.
On the other hand, he was a staunch opponent of Gracedale's sale, and sued Brown over using county tax dollars to hire a public relations consultant. In my view, he has matured on the job, and it is beyond dispute that his audits have saved the County millions of dollars.
On his campaign web page, Barron has hammered at Phillips for proposing a two-mill tax hike last year. He also calls Phillips a "rubber stamp" for Brown.
That's untrue. Of all the Republicans on Council, Phillips has been the most willing to challenge Brown and issues like consultants and borrowing $20 million to balance the budget. But that's why he needs to stay where he is. His Capital Improvements Committee has been making great strides in getting runaway maintenance costs under control. He has also been a check on the Executive. If elected to Controller, the remaining Republicans will undoubtedly select someone more malleable.
For that reason, I'll be supporting Barron.