UPDATED: Supes to Consider No-confidence Vote in Auditor-Controller


Karen Paz Dominguez. - SUBMITTED
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  • Karen Paz Dominguez.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on Monday in support of a vote of no confidence in the job performance of elected Auditor-Controller Karen Paz Dominguez. Supervisors Michelle Bushnell, Rex Bohn and Virginia Bass voted in favor of the symbolic rebuke, with Mike Wilson and Steve Madrone dissenting.


The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will meet in special session Monday to consider a vote of no-confidence in the job performance of elected Auditor-Controller Karen Paz Dominguez.

The agenda for Monday's meeting posted yesterday afternoon, after a payroll processing error caused delays in county employees getting their direct deposits and many reportedly getting payments for incorrect amounts. Paz Dominguez and other county staff reportedly worked through the night Thursday trying to rectify the error by manually entering payroll information. It's unclear if the payroll issues played any part in the no-confidence vote being agonized.

A staff report for the vote offers a blunt assessment: "Karen Paz Dominguez's tenure as Auditor-Controller has been marred with deficiencies," before offering a bulleted list of more than two dozen issues, ranging from ongoing delays in closing the county's 2019-2020 single audit to "failure to take responsibility for her actions." Read the full staff report and accompanying list here.

If the board does move forward with a no-confidence vote — as the Fortuna Unified High School District Board and the county Workforce Development Board already have — it would be almost entirely a symbolic gesture or protest and public rebuke. Paz Dominguez is an elected official — up for re-election next year — and the board has no power to remove her from office.

Elected in 2018 after raising alarm that the county's auditing practices amounted to little more than a rubber-stamp, leaving the county gravely at risk of fraud and waste, Paz Dominguez has proven a polarizing figure. Several outside reports have seemingly buttressed her statements that the county's accounting practices were inadequate and her office was short staffed, but her office has repeatedly failed to meet basic deadlines and perform essential functions, which county department heads and outside agencies have said is putting revenue streams at risk. Read more about the situation here.

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