A judge has dismissed all complaints brought against the Linn County Board of Supervisors by the county's own auditor, saying the complaints contradict Iowa Code.
In a statement released by the county on Wednesday, Linn County Judge Paul Miller dismissed Linn County Auditor Joel Miller's complaints on Tuesday and assessed all court costs to him.
In his ruling, Judge Miller says the county auditor had no authority to conduct internal audits of other departments, and rejected the claim that "county home rule" gave him the power.
Judge Miller also dismissed the auditor's claim that the Linn County Board of Supervisors had no authority to reduce the number of deputy auditors in his office from four to three. He said the state legislature gives boards of supervisors the authority to establish the number of deputies other elected officials may appoint.
Using court decisions and an attorney general's opinion, Judge Miller also ruled that the board has the authority to approve the payment of claims and the auditor acts under the direction of the board.
The Linn County Board of Supervisors praised Judge Miller's ruling in a written statement.
"Judge Miller validated our position that the Board, not the county auditor, is vested with the authority to conduct internal auditing and establish the number of deputies for each elected county official," wrote Brent Oleson, chairperson of the Linn County Board of Supervisors. "He rejected all of Auditor Miller's complaints and found them to be without merit. The court's ruling is recognition that this case was a waste of time and taxpayers' resources. I can only hope that Auditor Miller will now turn his attention to performing his legislated duties, repairing his working relationships with other county officials and focusing on what will provide value and service to Linn County taxpayers."
Auditor Miller also released a statement Wednesday disputing Judge Miller's ruling.
"The electorate in the recent election re-elected me with the highest number of popular votes of any contested race on the ballot, with the expectation I would be vigilant and be the watchdog over taxpayer dollars, and I intend to continue to do that," Auditor Miller wrote.
"I don't believe the judge considered all our arguments, but for me to pursue anything legally, such as an appeal, I would need the approval of the Board of Supervisors as well as funding from the Board to file an appeal, so I am obviously at their mercy."
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