Today, Bloomington resident Kevin Easton announced his candidacy for the position of Monroe County Auditor in the 2016 Democratic Primary. “I am excited to announce my candidacy for the Monroe County Auditor’s office. My educational and professional qualifications are perfectly suited to execute the duties of this office. I understand the fiscal responsibilities of the office, that they cannot be taken lightly, and must be given the day to day attention that they require,” Easton said.
Easton laid out three points for his campaign to focus on:
1. Transparency. The auditor’s office is the central office of analyzing and reporting financial data to county employees and the citizens of Monroe County. It is important that the citizens of Monroe County have access to the data in a clear, easy to understand format to ensure that they can understand how county government interacts with their lives. Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton’s new B Clear initiative for the city of Bloomington is an outstanding example of how local government can open its doors and make its business apparent to all citizens. The development of a similar portal for the county would immediately open dialog and encourage accountability by encouraging citizen scrutiny of the data the office keeps. The path to sustained accountability can begin with public disclosure of expenses, no matter how small, in real time and in an easy to understand and accessible format. “As auditor, I commit to work closely with the Treasurer’s Office, Commissioners, and County Council to make all incoming and outgoing financial transactions, be they taxes, grants, day to day expenses or contractual obligations, readily accessible and easy to understand. We deserve to know and have a voice in how our government is spending money,” he said.
2. Financial and Audit Expertise. One of the keys to success in the auditor’s office is leadership that understands the numbers and work flow of the office. The auditor needs to be someone capable of staying current with technology, trends, information, and changes in Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). “We need an auditor that embraces innovation in the office. The auditor should have knowledge of how to set and maintain internal controls among staff while managing operations as efficiently as possible. These are all traits I have acquired in my professional career, particularly during time spent as an auditor for the Department of Defense, as well as through my undergraduate education in Accounting and my master’s program in business administration.”
A recent report by the firm of Hartman and Williams identified a number of findings of areas that the auditor’s office could improve upon. “We cannot deny there have been areas of improvement needed in some aspects of the office, but I want to focus on the future. Under my leadership, focusing on fiscal controls and operations, I would work with the staff in the office to ensure these findings are corrected and any other proper checks and balances are implemented and maintained going forward”, he said.
3. Communication. One of the keys to successfully managing the auditor’s office is communication. That includes internally within the office, with other departments, and externally with citizens. The first step in this is presence. Easton said, “As the auditor, I will be available and in the office every day, as we should expect from our county employees. The employees of the office should always have someone they can come to in an open door policy environment and that is what I would offer. I would also ensure open and professional communication with other departments, particularly with the other fiscal control offices through regularly scheduled, public meetings. It should also be easy for the public to get timely answers to their issues from the office. I will set programs that will help to compile the very complex fiscal data available to the county and summarize it in a simple, easy to understand way.”
For the last four years Easton has been a devoted public sector employee with Indiana PTAC, a state agency tasked with growing businesses in Indiana and bringing more jobs and federal dollars to the state. He was previously employed by the Department of Defense as an auditor, and he holds an undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA in Management and Strategy. He is also currently a board member for Democracy for Monroe County (DFMC). “I believe my qualifications are well suited as someone that can serve this position professionally and not merely politically. I look forward to an exciting, issues based race to address the issues that are facing not only this office, but all of Monroe County.”