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Auditor says ‘politics’ led to her decision to resign

Dan McDonald
Staff Writer

Plumas County’s auditor-controller said the political battles associated with her job finally took their toll last week.

“The political issues were just a little more than I could take,” Shawn Montgomery said. “I don’t have the personality for it. I thought I did, but I guess I don’t.”

Montgomery sounded more relieved than bitter after submitting a letter of resignation to the Board of Supervisors April 24.

The supervisors were expected to formally accept the resignation during their meeting Tuesday, May 1.

Montgomery reportedly clashed with county department heads during her time in office.

The Public Health Agency, criminal justice leaders, Public Works and other county departments publicly criticized her.

County officers said the auditor created accounting “roadblocks” that compromised the departments’ ability to provide services.

Montgomery repeatedly explained that she was just trying to do her job and follow established procedures.

Employees in the auditor’s office called Montgomery’s work and dedication to her job “phenomenal.”

In a letter to Feather Publishing, signed by six people in the auditor’s office, the employees said they were saddened by Montgomery’s decision to step down.

“We are losing one of the county’s greatest assets,” the letter stated. “Shawn’s education and expertise in government accounting and taxes is phenomenal. We wish her the very best and will miss her greatly.”

The letter also chastised people for “negative comments” aimed at Montgomery.

“Shame on those who will not let her leave with the grace and respect that she truly deserves,” they said.

Montgomery wasn’t critical of the county when asked about her reasons for stepping down. She said it was “simply a matter of politics,” and left it at that.

She said she was looking forward to her new job as an accountant for the Plumas Unified School District.

“I’m really excited about it,” she said. “I’m excited not to be the boss.”

Montgomery, who was appointed auditor by the Board of Supervisors, was elected to the position in 2010 when she ran unopposed.

If the supervisors don’t appoint a replacement for Montgomery by May 8 — the date her resignation becomes effective — the accountant-auditor risk manager in the auditor’s office will handle the auditor duties on an interim basis.

Rarely were the supervisors publicly critical of Montgomery. But the board recently sided with department heads on some of their accounting issues with the auditor.

“Now the board can appoint someone they want,” Montgomery said.

In her resignation letter, Montgomery thanked her staff and said “working for Plumas County has been a privilege and an honor.”

“When I think about the trust and responsibility that the voters have given me, I am awestruck and quite frankly overwhelmed,” she wrote. “It was always a strange thing for me to see things addressed to the ‘Honorable Shawn Montgomery’ and I have never taken it lightly.”

Montgomery became the fourth high-profile county officer to resign or be ousted in the past five weeks.

The supervisors officially fired County Administrative Officer Jack Ingstad April 10, although he said he was prepared to resign.

Mental Health Director John Sebold and Public Health Director Mimi Hall resigned in March. Hall has since rescinded her resignation.



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