“We have schools that are closing, we need an auditor who will help others to monitor the expenses [of the county offices], not an auditor who is going to spend as if there is no tomorrow,” said López at a news conference last week to unveil the “pledge.”
“Those kind of expenditures are not going to be taking place under my watch,” she said.
The trips that López referenced sent members of the Auditor’s Office to such far-flung locales as Miami, San Diego, Hong Kong and Nova Scotia, primarily for fact finding and training seminars.
By contrast, López pointed to the fact that during her tenure in the Recorder’s Office over the last year and a half, there had only one authorized out-of-state trip – one she herself took to Chicago. López criticized not only the frequency and destination of such trips but also the tendency of the Auditor’s Office to send, in some cases, up to five employees at a time, to such seminars.
“I discovered that when I returned I didn’t need to travel out of state to collect such information,” she said. “We try to send individuals and then it’s their responsibility to return and train the rest of the staff on the information.”
López, who won election to the Lucas County Reporter’s seat last November after serving on the Toledo Board of Education for several years, promised to hold a series of press conferences over the months leading up to November’s general election to address the “level of performance we should be expecting from the auditor’s office … $450,000 in travel is not being fiscally responsible.”
López’s Pledge to the People includes the following points: “maintain an office that is accessible to all Lucas County residents …; develop a professional staff to be hired based on their knowledge, skills, and accomplishments as opposed to who they are related to, contribute money to or are friends with; act as a rue fiscal watchdog for the public funds of Lucas County especially within my own office … include[ing] limiting travel for practical purposes …; operate the Auditor’s office as an independent agency; and protect the public funds entrusted to Lucas County for appropriation and investment from theft or misuse.”