The City of Lawrence auditor has resigned his position amid debate on whether the position should be cut from the city’s budget.
The resignation of the auditor, Michael Eglinski, came up during the City Commission candidate forum Sunday. When the moderator asked candidates whether the position should be kept, incumbent candidate Matthew Herbert said the auditor had resigned on Friday.
Eglinski told the Journal-World Monday that he provided notification of his resignation more than two weeks ago to the commission and to the city’s human resources department and that his last day with the city was indeed Friday. Eglinski said that he has accepted a position as senior auditor with Johnson County, but that he thinks it’s important that Lawrence maintain the function of city auditor.
“I think the function helps the City Commission govern and helps them provide oversight and get information that is independent of management,” Eglinski said.
City Manager Tom Markus released his recommended budget May 4, which proposed eliminating 11 positions, including the city auditor position. The auditor was the only position that was currently filled at the time of the recommendation.
The commission has not yet decided on the position specifically, but stuck with the 1.25 mill property tax rate increase proposed by Markus when it set the maximum budget last week. The commission could still decide to keep the position, but it would require reductions elsewhere. The position was projected to cost the city $130,000 in 2018.
Markus also recommended eliminating the city auditor position as part of the 2017 budget, but commissioners ultimately agreed to keep it.
The auditor position is that of a performance auditor, as opposed to a financial one, and that person evaluates city programs. As currently structured, the position falls under the direction of the City Commission, which some commissioners have said provides limited supervision for the position because commissioners are only part-time. Some commissioners have previously said that if the position is kept, the structure would need to be changed.
The auditor brings performance reports to the commission with recommendations for improvement. Over the years, the auditor has found several issues, including missing payments to the city. Eglinski said that he thinks the position could be strengthened by the addition of an audit committee.
“I hope that they strengthen it and fill the position,” Eglinski said. “Having an audit committee would help with selecting topics, it would help with reviewing work when it’s done, it would help with following up with recommendations.”
The City Commission will hold the public hearing for the 2018 budget on Aug. 1.