Orange County Auditor-Controller to Resign in January

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Orange County Auditor-Controller David Sundstrom advised county supervisors Monday that he is resigning his elected post after accepting a similar job with Sonoma County as its top elected official overseeing county finances.

“The timing is never perfect,” said Sundstrom during a phone interview after sending the notice.

Sundstrom advised Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Campbell that he has been appointed to fill out the remaining three years of incumbent Sonoma County Auditor-Controller and Treasurer-Tax Collector Rod Dole, who is retiring.

Sundstrom said his final day as audior-controller in Orange County will be Jan. 31.

Sundstrom wrote in his resignation letter:

The Sonoma position affords the opportunity to share with Sonoma County the many lessons that I learned as Orange County’s Auditor-Controller. Further, it will allow my immediate family to move much closer to the rest of the family, all of which live in Northern California. As you are aware, I grew up in Northern California and attended college at Sonoma State University. In many ways, I’m coming home.

There’s probably never a good time to leave a position. However, I am proud to be part of a team that built a sustainable financial infrastructure that will put Orange County in good financial stead for many years to come.

Sundstrom was elected auditor-controller in 1998 after being the county’s first director of internal audit, established after the 1994 bankruptcy to increase financial oversight.

While Sundstrom got high marks for completing the installation of the county’s $68-million financial management system, there have been concerns that the property tax upgrades are behind schedule and over budget.

This month, Sundstrom had a tense exchange with supervisors over the delays, which mean the system won’t be ready for July 2012 and will likely take another year.

“It’s on schedule and it has good management,” Sundstrom said. “It will get done. It might go a few million over but I don’t think it would be that much over.”

One key action that Sundstrom will take in January will be to apportion nearly $75 million in property taxes to the county instead of the schools after county supervisors found that he is required to redirect those funds. Sacramento officials have said that plan likely is illegal.

— NORBERTO SANTANA JR.

 

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