By Debra Moore
Jesse Payne, Ryan Bonk and Linda Bair, sat next to each other at a table in front of the Board of Supervisors this week. All three hope to be the next Plumas County Auditor.
The auditor is an elected position, but no one filed to run for the position. Former auditor, Roberta Allen, resigned from the role effective early this year to become the assistant auditor in Sierra County. Martee Nieman, who has been a Plumas County employee for nearly 18 years — 17 in the county treasurer’s office — is the current acting auditor. Though she applied for the position, she was initially told that she did not meet the qualifications. She appealed — successfully — and is now scheduled to be interviewed on Oct. 4.
Because it’s an elected position, the three initial candidates were interviewed in open session Sept. 27. Each was asked the same questions and took turns answering first. Many of their responses were similar.
Each candidate brings financial experience to the position, though none of them have worked in a county auditor’s office, or for county government for that matter.
Payne currently resides in the Vacaville area; Bonk in Reno and Bair in Clio. Payne and Bonk are currently employed and would need to give their employers 30-days notice; Bair has been retired since 2015.
Payne, who has an MBA, said his background was in Fortune 500 companies, but he has “had always had an affinity for wanting to work in local government.”
Bonk described himself as a “data nerd” who is very comfortable with data analysis. He also holds an MBA and has worked in the private and public sector.
Bair said that she began her career working with nonprofits, but has also worked in the private and public sector.
Following the interview session, Supervisor Greg Hagwood said, “These are three of the smartest people who have sat at this desk in a long time.”
The next step is for reference checks to be completed on each of those interviewed. At the conclusion of the Sept. 27 meeting, it wasn’t known that another candidate would be qualified, with an Oct. 4 interview scheduled.