Insider, outsider face off in the auditor-controller race | News – Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California 2022-05-15 19:00:00 –

Residents of Kern County have two options: auditor-administrator-county clerk-registrant for the next voter in June. Insider or outsider.

Deputy Auditor-Controller Aimee Espinoza (45 years old) and local businessman Mark McKenzie (65 years old) both participate in the vote, and the candidate who adds 1 to 50% of the votes wins. If neither can secure a majority, it will proceed to the general election in November.

Auditor-The administrator is Kern County’s Chief Financial Officer, providing accounting, payroll, and auditing to the county’s departments. The county secretary is responsible for issuing marriage licenses, notary registration, and processing other legal documents. The voter registrar oversees county elections and is responsible for voter registration.

For the first time since 1994, multiple candidates are vying for offices, according to Audit & Supervisory Board Member Mary Bedard. Mary Bedard will retire at the end of her current term after she took office in 2013.

There is certainly scrutiny of how elections will take place nationwide after the elections have spread, but so far, following the 2020 elections, no allegations of fraud have been proven. ..

Mackenzie, Founder and CEO of Trestles Construction Solutions LLC and Senior Vice President of The Industrial Company (TIC), aims to reform the election office. He led a group of observers during the recall and witnessed “poor leadership, mismanagement, and not necessarily … many opportunities for fraud, but certainly many opportunities for fraud,” while watching pollsters.

“As a citizen, I was very worried that it would be a business as usual,” Mackenzie runs, seeing how past races in the office weren’t challenged. I talked about the reason.

Espinoza says there is no evidence of fraudulent voting and vows to reinvent the election process to improve transparency and efficiency. She also said these upgrades are underway.

“I feel it’s really important for people to trust that their votes are counted and that they can hear their voice,” Espinosa said. “And the (elected) person has not brought in his agenda.”


Mackenzie did not easily reach the path to candidacy. He filed a complaint in the Kern County High Court to put Bedard on ballot after claiming that he did not have an accounting degree or equivalent, which is a requirement to run for an auditor. Controller-County Secretary-Voter Registrant.

Bedard wrote in an email that Mackenzie took two introductory accounting courses at Colorado State University’s system. Adding these classes is not equivalent to an accounting major. McKenzie said he has a master’s degree in commercialization of technology and a bachelor’s degree in business management, focusing on organizational leadership.

Judge Thomas Clark said the candidate had a bachelor’s degree in accounting and earned 45 credits for that degree, and ruled in favor of Mackenzie. Bedard, who did not support the candidate by citing her role as a voter registrar, put him on the ballot as a result of the order.

“I personally feel sorry for the judge to admit,” Espinoza said, admitting Mackenzie’s request for ballots. She majored in accounting at California State University Bakersfield and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Espinoza states that without first-hand experience, opponents cannot answer advanced technical questions about accounting. She started working in the Audit & Supervisory Board as an accountant in 2006 and was promoted to senior accountant. After that, Espinoza left the office and worked as an analyst in the county’s administration office, budget department, and was promoted to senior finance and policy analyst status. In July 2019, she was appointed Assistant Auditor Controller.

McKenzie said he oversees the accountant and has no plans to enter data as an executive controller. When asked about answering the high-level questions posed by the accountants under him, the businessman said he could answer those questions because he “spent a fair amount of time on the county budget.” The county administration said he was percent confident.

Regarding the auditing experience, Mackenzie said from nearly 30 years of experience in the industrial construction business, it is necessary to ensure that each site adheres to standard practices. He also said that he ensured that the various departments under him would follow certain procedures.

McKenzie said he has a Lean Six Sigma black belt from Villa Nova University. This helps to reach his goal of tightening the budget. According to the university’s website, this accreditation teaches students how to solve problems, the process of collecting and analyzing data, increasing profits through increased efficiency, and leading quality improvement initiatives.

When elected as the county secretary, McKenzie said he had worked on thousands of documents on a multi-billion dollar construction project and had some ideas for streamlining the process of work. He refused to come up with a concrete idea, but he heard “feedback” from his friend who had a hard time getting the document.

Office idea

Both candidates said they would hold the county accountable as an auditor.

Espinoza said he would like to conduct more county-wide audits. In some departments, credit card restrictions were lifted during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was the right move, Espinoza said. However, she aims to ensure that all steps are performed.

Assistant Auditor-Administrator wants to refresh the office website to make it easier to use and insert the presence of his office in other departments to ensure that the correct steps are taken. I am. If elected, Espinoza will also try to educate voters about the election process.

During his career as the county’s chief accountant, Espinoza said he had established a relationship with the county administration. This will help her to improve herself further if she is elected.

McKenzie said his college education could upgrade the skills of the election office and his leadership experience would help boost the morale of the election office.

Another election office

During an hour-long debate at the March 1 meeting, Khan County’s supervisory board spoke with many residents who called for the election office to be split from auditors.

Mackenzie said he supported the move. Espinoza said the issue was “Switzerland” or neutral, but said he would support separation if voters’ confidence increased. She said the auditor’s office had successfully held elections for years.

“I’m not against it, but I also don’t like” Hey, you should (separate the election office), “Espinoza said. “It’s like the will of the board is … (and) the will of the people.”

Espinoza said he hasn’t heard of “conspiracy theorists” or those who believe in false information about the voting process because there is no fraud in Kern County. She has been helping prepare for elections since 2006 and knows the state laws governing elections, including on the day of the election.

According to Espinoza, this “boot experience in the field” separates her from her opponents.

She added that the office responded to residents’ complaints by hiring more staff and remodeling the voting room to speed up the election certification process. Espinoza states that the county completed voting processing before the state’s deadline and reduced the number of staff COVID-19 works, which affected their efficiency.

You can reach Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow her on her Twitter @ idesai98.

Insider, outsider face off in the auditor-controller race | News Source link Insider, outsider face off in the auditor-controller race | News

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