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Accounting the vote: Two candidates run for auditor-controller

The candidates for the office are Gina Will, middle, and Rob Tribble, left. At right is Jeff Pettitt, moderator of the League of Women Voters of Western Nevada County forum.
John Hart

Nevada County voters have a choice between two candidates for their next auditor-controller — Rob Tribble and Gina Will.

While both candidates described the position in its most simplest terms as the head accountant for the county, and both come from experience with county finances, each candidate has their own take on the role of the position.

Incumbent Marcia Salter isn’t running for reelection.



TRIBBLE

“I read the budget for Nevada County, 702-pages long,” Rob Tribble said.

Tribble, currently a consultant to investors and senior executives, was at one time the No. 7 employee of Netscape and holds three patents with the company.



“$299.9 million is the budget for last year,” he said. “What I found out is that a little bit more than half of the money comes from grants from the state. The Board of Supervisors gets to control the money and you vote for your Board of Supervisors, but more than half of that is money that you don’t have any control over. I think the money in Nevada County should be managed by elected officials, not bureaucrats.”

Tribble said the county has almost doubled the amount of employees over the past 10 years, but the population hasn’t changed much over that period.

“Then you look at what we’re paying these people,” he said. “You take the top 30 employees and that’s $5 million bucks, are they worth that? We’re paying top dollar for these people. I’m not going to argue that they’re not worth it, but does it make sense? I’m sure they’re doing a great job, but are taxpayers aware of how we spend our money?”

Tribble said it’s important to him that people have confidence in the auditor-controller.

“I think Gina is a great lady,” Tribble said of his opponent. “I have no argument, I just think they can do it better. It’s all about perception versus reality. Perception is government thinks that they are doing a good job, but reality is that they’re not.”

“A lot of it is manipulated,” Tribble said, adding that he wants the auditor-controller position to be a representative of correct activity.

“The Board of Supervisors has to make good decisions on accurate numbers, they have to have good numbers,” Tribble said.

WILL

Will currently serves as the assistant Nevada County auditor-controller and has held that position since July 2020.

“I think that what most of the public would relate to is that we’re the head accountants or the official accountants of the county, and charged with preparing the annual financial comprehensive report,” Will said.

The position also oversees payroll for the county’s 860 employees.

“In addition to that, we provide a number of services for county departments and special districts and schools. We prepare all accounts payable for all departments and special districts. We receive batches and we include them and we make sure that they’re properly authorized and encumbered and initial payments on them.”

Before Will’s position with the county, she was finance director and treasurer for the city of Paradise between 2008 and 2020, and helped the community recover from the devastating 2018 Camp Fire.

“One of my greatest professional achievements was working through the Camp Fire and those recovery processes,” Will said.

“We reduced unfunded liability by 77%, which really ended up being crucial in the months following the Camp Fire because it gave us some resource to provide some resources after the fire until resource settlements came in,” she said. “I had a big role in our emergency operations and recovery in Paradise, so when I came to the county, it was a natural fit to join the operations and recovery team.”

Since then Will has helped the team recover $2 million from FEMA and other agencies.

“I would add that really my desire is to maintain the integrity and the transparency that our office has been known of for years,” she said. “For the last 14 years, our annual financial report has received the Government Finance Officers Association (certificate of achievement) for excellence in financial reporting. In essence it’s an audit of our audit.

“Certainly want to maintain that level of excellence in the department,” Will said.

To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez, email efunez@theunion.com, or call 530-477-4230


Name: Rob Tribble

Age: 75

Occupation: Consultant to investors and senior executives

Residence: Lake Wildwood

Name: Gina Will

Age: 52

Occupation: Assistant Nevada County auditor-controller

Residence: South County

 


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