Supervisors interview auditor hopeful in open session

Debra Moore

Staff Writer

Job interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience, even without a room full of onlookers, but that’s exactly the situation Roberta Allen faced last week.

Allen, the only applicant for Plumas County auditor, interviewed with the full Board of Supervisors and its staff Oct. 2, while other county department heads and members of the public listened.

Human Resources Director Gayla Trumbo posed the questions, while the supervisors chimed in at various points.

“I was a little nervous,” Allen admitted during a conversation following the meeting. 

When asked if the audience added to the tension, Allen said that she was so focused on answering the questions that she didn’t think about the people behind her.

Board Chairman Robert Meacher said that this was the first time during his 20-year tenure on the board that the supervisors had interviewed an applicant in open session.

Because the county auditor is an elected position, the public has the right to attend. 

If appointed, Allen would serve two years in the position before facing an election. 

Allen is a third-generation Plumas County native, born in Greenville. She graduated from Greenville High School and earned degrees in business and accounting from Chico State University.

She spent her professional career working for accounting firms and joined John Kimmel in 1995. Allen became a certified public accountant in 2002. One of the requirements to be county auditor is to be a CPA.

While Allen has extensive experience in accounting, she admitted that she has no government experience, but learns quickly. She said she would attend trainings, network with other county auditors and rely on her staff to learn the job.

Craig Goodman, a former county auditor who has been assisting the county, said it takes about three years for an individual to thoroughly learn the job.

“But the key thing is, ‘Can you do accounting?’” Goodman said of the position.

Supervisor Jon Kennedy asked Allen if she would be willing to pay for her own travel and other costs associated with training. Allen said that she would.

Kennedy also asked Allen if she had studied the county’s budget and budget act. 

Allen said that she had read both as part of preparing for the interview, and had purchased books on the subject.

She told the board that while she doesn’t have specific government budget experience, she has budgeted for her clients. 

Supervisor Lori Simpson asked Allen if she knew that risk management was part of the auditor’s responsibility and Allen said that she had read it in the job description.

In closing, Allen told the supervisors that she is devoted to the county, is hard-working and responsible and is committed to her profession, as evidenced by her being a CPA. She also said that she is easy to work with, fair and a good communicator.

Several times during the interview, she referred to her strong communication ability. She sees that as being necessary to learning the job quickly and becoming an effective county auditor.

Audience members also spoke on Allen’s behalf. Johnny Moore, owner of Sugarpine Aviators, said that Allen had been his accountant for many years and he described her as “spectacular.”

Co-worker Kathy Pricer described Allen as “very easy to work with, fair and very approachable.”

Though the interview was conducted Oct. 2, the supervisors weren’t scheduled to discuss Allen’s appointment until their Oct. 9 board meeting. Check for the results of that discussion.

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