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Board appoints Auditor from within the county ranks

By Debra Moore

[email protected]

When it came time to appoint a Plumas County Auditor, the board of supervisors chose from within its own county family.

In a 3-2 vote, the supervisors voted Oct. 11 to appoint Martee Neiman as its new auditor. Board Chairman Kevin Goss and Supervisors Dwight Ceresola and Jeff Engel voted to appoint Neiman, while Supervisors Greg Hagwood and Sherrie Thrall voted to appoint Jesse Payne, one of the other candidates for the office.

Neiman has been serving as the interim auditor for the past few months, moving over from the Treasurer’s office to fill the void left by former Auditor Roberta Allen who left the position officially Jan. 31, 2022.

The board interviewed four candidates in total, in two rounds. During the first interview session held Sept. 27, the board interviewed Jesse Payne, Ryan Bonk and Linda Bair. Though Neiman had applied, the Human Resources Office initially deemed her ineligible. She appealed and won the right to interview. She interviewed in the second round beside Payne and Bair on Oct. 4; Bonk was unable to attend. All interviews were conducted in public because the Auditor is an elected position. No one filed to run for the position, so the board went through the appointment process.

During today’s board meeting, Chairman Goss recapped the interview process with the four candidates and suggested that perhaps each of the board members could share their rankings.

Human Resources Director Nancy Selvage told the board members that they had very qualified applicants to choose from. “You have a challenging decision in front of you,” she said.

Goss agreed and said, “Personally I would like to say that each one of the candidates was exceptional.” He called the auditor’s job a very integral position that has not been in place for a while. He also thanked Martee Neiman for serving as the interim auditor.

Supervisor Greg Hagwood was the first to share his ranking. He said there was “not a bad choice in the group. Everyone is outstanding,” but he ranked Jesse Payne as number one.

Dwight Ceresola, the District 1 Supervisor, spoke next. He said that the board talks about maintaining employment in the county and “we have a person with 17 years employment in the county.” He noted the knowledge that she gained from working in the Treasurer’s office and then applauded “a world of work she did in a short amount of time” in preparing the budget. He said that when people asked for information, she explained it, and if she didn’t know she acknowledged it, and then found the answer. He said that some people applied who might have more knowledge or work experience, “but from what I have seen if we stay within our county employees, we already have a person who has shown she is capable of the job.” Ceresola picked Neiman as number one.

Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said simply, “My top candidate is Jesse.”

Supervisor Jeff Engel spoke next and said the board had “four great candidates” for the position. He said he has hired people for years and he considers everything that he can think of when choosing one.  “I always like to hire from within,” he said. He cited dedication and devotion to the county and someone who would have the best interest of the county at heart as important. “Martee has got 17 years with the county; she’s devoted to the county,” he said. “Martee is my first pick.”

For those who are counting … that made it two for Martee Neiman and two for Jesse Payne.

It would be up to Kevin Goss to break the tie. “All four candidates were exceptional,” Goss said. He then went on to discuss working with Neiman on the budget committee. “At the very beginning of that – we were basically stepping into a realm with a lack of personnel to get this done,” Goss said. “We worked through it … Martee had just been on the job a couple of months.” Goss said, “Martee and Jessie were on the top of my list — Martee with her 17 years and Jessie with his knowledge.” Goss then made the motion to appoint Neiman as the next auditor.

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