Chamber of Commerce Questionnaire: Terri Porter

Indiana code defines the county auditor as the fiscal officer of the county. What are your specific qualifications and experience to act as the principal financial officer of the county? 

I recently retired as an administrator for the Department of Housing & Urban Development. For17 plus years in the Indianapolis, and the Regional HUD office in Kansas City, I audited and provided oversight for billions of federal tax dollars while managing several offices across 5 Midwestern states. I have extensive practical experience at the local, state, and federal level of identifying and remedying organizational deficiencies and financial discrepancies. I have a proven track record of transforming troubled offices into high performers. The application of my skills and expertise will restore public trust and confidence in the Monroe County Auditor’s office. I have a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree and am certified in both economic development and housing development finance. 

In recent years, the county has been under scrutiny about financial records. How will you improve county’s financial record keeping and make certain records are being reconciled in a timely manner? 

I will address financial record keeping issues by confirming the cross checking of reports for accuracy and reconciliation well before submissions deadlines to allow time for adjustments. I will ensure appropriate internal controls are present to certify compliance. It’s important to understand that the duties of the Monroe County Auditor’s office are wide in scope and go far beyond financial record keeping. These many duties and tasks are performed by people, people who have endured many years of troubled leadership. It is imperative that the new Auditor have extensive supervisory experience. I know how to delegate, inspire, and hold people accountable. I will ensure that staff are cross trained as appropriate, encourage professional development, insist on integrity, and a commitment to providing superior public service.

 What is the single most significant issue that will be at the top of your administrative priority for the Auditor's Office, and how will you resolve it? 

My top priority is to improve communications and the exchange of information between the Auditor, Treasurer, Assessor, and Recorder. A strong collaborative partnership must be developed between these elected officials. Of particular importance is the relationship between the Auditor, Treasurer, and their respective offices. Currently, there is little, if any communication or information exchange between them. Significant deficiencies, identified in an audit last year, cannot be remedied without this correction. This critical partnership between the Monroe County Auditor and Treasurer Offices has been broken for so long that it appears irreparable between the current elected officials. The new Auditor must come from outside of the established culture and possess the well tested leadership skills to bring in the fresh approach needed for positive change.

How will you work with the commissioners and the county council to provide daily operational assistance and support?

The Auditor’s Office is the financial and informational hub for the County. My mission will be to ensure that our key decision makers have updated and correct information in a timely manner. This data will be in a user friendly format as well as easily accessible. I am a consummate problem solver and outcome driven. I will attend meetings, work sessions, and meet individually with elected officials to ensure I understand the issues, and make certain that they have what they need to support their initiatives and services to the community. I will also work with other county departments to ensure the directors have the information and data they need to address questions from elected officials and the public.