Lane County Government operates efficiently and openly.
An early order of business given to the new County Administrator, Steve Mokrohisky, was to help the Board of County Commissioners select and hire an internal performance Auditor. The position had been in place in the County Budget but had not been filled for several years. Past auditors reported to the Administrator, the new auditor will report directly to the Board of Commissioners. The auditor will be one of only three employees of the County to report directly to the Board, joining the Administrator and County Counsel, Steve Dingle.
A selection committee was assembled, consisting of me (the Board Chair), Commissioner Sid Leiken, Assessor Mike Cowles, a county budget committee member, a Sheriff’s department sworn officer and an HR staff member. Initially an outside auditing firm was contracted to perform some of the functions that will be part of the job description of the internal auditor.
Marsha Edwards, the county’s Human Resource Director, conducted a search and produced two excellent finalists for the position. The committee conducted interviews and Commissioner Leiken and I subsequently engaged in further interviews with the candidates. After meeting two more times, members of the selection committee agreed upon recommending Shanda Miller to the full Board. Each of the other three Commissioners then had individual meetings with Ms. Miller.
The Board approved the recommendation made by the committee unanimously at its regular Board meeting on Tuesday January 13, directing the Administrator to finalize a contract with Ms. Miller for the Board’s approval.
Having an auditor reporting independently to the Board of Commissioners is essential to demonstrating that the county is not only operating efficiently but is responsive to needs for improvement in Board policies and operation.
During the interview process, Ms. Miller talked about her approach to the job, if selected. She emphasized that her view of an auditor is not to find errors and imperfections, but to find where the work is being done well, and if improvements can be made to suggest them.
This is consistent with my concept of management: Catch people doing thing right and let them know that you noticed. Praise and redirect if redirection is needed. Otherwise, simply praise publicly and specifically. If a leader continually observes the work that is being done and continually reinforces positive behavior the likelihood for continued improvement is high. When professionals who are doing a good job know that it is being noticed they will be incented to continue with their rewarding and productive work.
Shanda Miller is currently working as an auditing team supervisor for the Oregon Secretary of State.