Carrying out action promised last week, the Davis County Commission eliminated an internal auditor's job Monday over the protests of County Auditor Ruth Kennington.
The commission last week charged Kennington with failing to perform her job of auditing county departments and said the work would be contracted out to a private auditing firm instead.The commission also charged Kennington with abusing her office, violating county personnel guidelines and misusing county employee time and materials.
To cut the staff position, the commissioners reduced Kennington's budget by just under $4,000, eliminating the position held by internal auditor Jim Larson.
In depositions given in a pending legal action two weeks ago, Kennington and Larson admitted that Larson, using county supplies and on county time, composed and mailed out fake letters to the editors of various daily and weekly newspapers, supporting Kennington and attacking the commissioners.
Kennington and commissioners Harold Tippetts, William Peters, and Gayle Stevenson have had a long-running battle dating back to when Kennington took office in January 1987.
Kennington maintains the commission, by transferring personnel out of her office and other actions, has prevented her from carrying out her duties as the county's chief budget officer and auditor.
The commissioners maintain Kennington, even with a full staff, failed to carry out her duties despite appeals and offers of aid. As a result, staff members and their duties were transferred to other departments to get the work done.
The political fight peaked shortly before the September primary election when a citizens' complaint charging Tippetts, Peters, and former commissioner Glen Saunders, who is now interim county clerk, with misuse of county money and malfeasance was filed.
The complaint was politically motivated, the three charge, and in turn have accused Kennington of providing biased and inaccurate information to the group responsible for filing the complaint, which seeks to have the three removed from office.
Second District Judge Douglas L Cornaby has set a Dec. 7 court date but Davis County Attorney Mel Wilson, acting as defense attorney for the three officials, said he will file a motion before that to have the complaint dismissed for lack of merit.