Hillsborough's Internal Audit Hanging by a Thread by Mitch E.Perry

07/19/06

Hillsborough County’s First ever internal performance auditor, Kathleen Mathews, kept her job – barely – today after County Commissioners discussed her job status in the wake of a scalding Human Resources Department report that says her office is run ineffectively, and that her leadership skills are lacking.

Matthews was hired back in 2003 after the position was created as an amendment to the County Charter the year before. But complaints and criticism led to the Commission today to decide today to begin soliciting resumes to replace Matthews, but not before October 1st. And Board Chairman Jim Norman – back at work after 2 months off because of heart bypass surgery – said the Board was NOT firing her (roll tape#1 o.q.�in this department�)

Matthews defended herself, and said she’d like the chance to meet with Commissioners individually to express her point of view on some of the criticism in the report (roll tape#2 o.q.�have been hired�)

Human Resources Department Director George Williams wrote the report on Matthews. He said he didn’t expect to address the Commissioners, but said he felt compelled after reading Matthews response to the report (roll tape#3 o.q.�is pretty rough�)

County Commissioner Kathy Castor then offered a substitute motion – in which the Board would fire Matthews right now. She read aloud portions of the her review (roll tape#4 o.q.�to take action here�)

Several other Commissioners expressed ambivalence about the situation, saying they believed the handwriting was on the wall for the Internal Performance Auditor, but also believing , or hoping, that she could rally her troops and instill confidence in the office.

Ronda Storms comments were typical of nearly all the Commissioners in terms of expressing support on a personal level, but reading the writing on the proverbial wall pe#5 o.q.�is salvageable�)

Matthews was asked if she will re-apply for the job. In response, she said the internal auditing position was her dream job.

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