Chair’s 3 Minutes: Appointing the county auditor – Fulfilling a charter mandate

The voters of Maui County approved a charter amendment last November to establish an Office of the County Auditor.

The office will strengthen the auditing function in county government and ensure that the agencies and programs of the county are held to the highest standard of accountability to the public. Appointment of the county auditor is a major step toward fulfilling our voters’ mandate.

On Wednesday at 9 a.m., the Budget and Finance Committee will consider the report of its Temporary Investigative Group, or TIG, formed to recruit and evaluate qualified applicants for the position of county auditor, and to recommend the applicant best suited for the position.

The report, submitted by the TIG at the Budget and Finance Committee meeting on May 31, recommended Lance Taguchi of Wailuku to fill the six-year term, starting July 1, or as soon thereafter as practicable.

To comply with the state Sunshine Law, no deliberations on the TIG’s report could occur when it was submitted. When the committee meets on Wednesday, members will deliberate upon Mr. Taguchi’s suitability to fill the position. As always, the public is invited to testify.

Having participated as part of the three-member TIG, I’d like to share some of its findings.

The TIG noted the first person appointed as county auditor will not only be tasked with performing and procuring financial performance and other audits, but also will be required to lay the policy and operational groundwork for the office. The county auditor will also need to quickly gain an understanding of the unique circumstances confronting our multiple-isle county, and establish a rapport with county officials to enable the auditor to effectively access agency records and perform other duties.

The TIG found that Mr. Taguchi meets the qualifications set forth in the charter.

He has a bachelor’s of business administration degree, with a major in accounting, and a master’s of accounting degree. He is licensed in the state as a certified public accountant, and has more than the requisite number of years of audit experience.

Mr. Taguchi has the added benefit of substantial prior employment experience with the County of Maui – from 2000 through present – working first for the executive branch (executive assistant, Office of the Mayor), then for the legislative branch (legislative analyst for the Office of Council Services, then deputy county clerk). While working with the legislative branch, he assisted with the procurement of the independent audit of the county’s comprehensive annual financial report.

These and other findings provided the basis for the TIG’s unanimous recommendation of Mr. Taguchi to fill the position of county auditor. I would add that a number of the resumes received by the TIG reflected a pool of candidates with impressive credentials. The county is fortunate to have attracted such talent.

The TIG report and Wednesday’s meeting agenda are available on the Budget and Finance Committee’s website at

* Mike White holds the council seat for the Makawao-Haiku-Paia residency area. He chairs the Budget and Finance Committee. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.