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List of 7 Auditor-Controller Finalists: Why Is Jan Grimes On The List?

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on March 20, 2013

Let me first start by saying yesterdays meeting of the Orange County Board of Supervisors was quite interesting as I did not expect the list of candidates for OC Auditor Controller to be whittled down. Call me pleasantly surprised as we now have our list of 7 finalists for the position which we are posting here for our loyal readers.

George Beck
James Benuzzi
Jan Grimes
Nick Pham
Gustavo Rodriguez
Eric Woolery
Alexander Yu

I have only heard of two individuals on this list and one of them was an absolute shock to me. Jan Grimes was one of the last people who I thought would apply based on statements that I had seen from her in the OC Register. At first I thought perhaps my memory was off, but then I heard this exchange take place:

11:10 AM- John Moorlach recommended that only Jan Grimes be interviewed for the position. I am surprised since she claimed she had no interest in the position based on my recollection.

11:11 AM- Supervisor Spitzer read my mind and also brings up the concern he has with somebody choosing to not finish their term if they get appointed. He is concerned about a candidate being really interested in the position instead of a caretaker.

11:13 AM- Janet Nguyen brings up the fact that Jan Grimes made the statement that she does not want to be elected in 2014 which is why she was not originally appointed.

11:14 AM- We might hear from Jan Grimes as she is in the room. It is up to her according to Supervisor Nelson.

11:15 AM- Supervisor Bates agrees to the idea of interviewing multiple candidates for the position.

11:16 AM- John Moorlach is really pushing Jan Grimes for whatever reason??? He admits that she is only interested in the term ending in 2014.

11:18 AM- Moorlach is concerned that the person appointed will have an advantage in the election and supports a caretaker in order to create an open election for the seat in 2014. I am very confused by this logic???

11:20 AM- Supervisor Nelson agrees with the 3 other Supes that  the remaining 7 candidates should be interviewed.

11:21 AM- If I recall correctly John Moorlach is being a hypocrite. He was appointed to the Treasurer Tax-Collector to fill an unexpired term and then ran for it with the incumbent title.

11:22 AM- FYI I just realized I did not type the 7 names earlier but here they are: George Beck, Jim Benoozi, Jan Grimes, Nick Pham, Gustavo Rodriguez, Eric Woolery, and Alexander Yoo.

11:25 AM- Supervisors Spitzer and Nguyen bring up examples of candidates claiming that they will or will not run and then changing their mind when the time comes to file for office. It is clear that they are both opposed to having a caretaker in the office.

11:26 AM- The item passes 4-1 with Moorlach dissenting to interview the 7 candidates mentioned above.

I decided to spend my late evening researching Jan Grimes after I recalled reading about her having no interest in the position and Supervisor Nguyen & Spitzer confirming my recollection. Here are a few articles that relate to the Auditor-Controller position:

1) The first article that I ran across was from the Voice of OC which discusses the possibility of making the position an appointed one. In order to give background on the article it was written after Deputy Auditor-Controller Shaun Skelly retired. The telling sentence from the article is as follows,

“Now Jan Grimes, whom Skelly appointed as interim auditor-controller, has told supervisors she doesn’t want the job either”

2) Another article that I ran across was a Total Buzz article written by OC Register reporter Andrew Galvin. This article talked about all three positions that the County was taking applications for at the time. He also makes mention of Jan Grimes no longer being in the OC Auditor-Controller hunt.

“Moorlach had planned to propose confirming Jan Grimes, a long-time county employee who has been serving as interim auditor-controller, in that role at next week’s board meeting. Now, that won’t happen.

Grimes has told the board she doesn’t want to take on the role of an elected official, preferring to remain a county employee.

Moorlach said he’s encouraged Grimes to apply for the post and thinks she’ll be the top candidate. Whether she can continue to run the department without becoming the incumbent is being researched by County Counsel Nick Chrisos. Taking over the elected post would mean she’d stop accruing annual leave and sick time and have to cash out what time she has, said Steve Danley, the county’s human resources director.”

I am going to dig a lot deeper on this one but something is really odd about this situation. The argument of having somebody try to gain the appointment as a caretaker for a year and then allow a bloody election for an open seat makes no sense whatsoever. This for whatever reason really bothers me that she didn’t want the position and now is very interested in the appointment (although I have yet to actually hear from her). The one thing that she has got going for her is that she is not a career politician which would bother me far more. We will have to wait and see what happens but I would like to learn a whole lot more about the other applicants left standing and would be far more encouraged by one of them being selected.

As soon as more information becomes available (I am constantly checking for a press release on this) on the final 7 applicants I will be reporting on it for our readers.

5 Responses to “List of 7 Auditor-Controller Finalists: Why Is Jan Grimes On The List?”

  1. OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

    Why does it make “no sense whatsoever”? It makes sense if (1) for political reasons, you want the seat to be open for someone else who does want to run for the seat then but for whatever reason does not want to apply for it now — say, a county official who is currently in office, or (2) for good government reasons, you think that you could get a better candidate from the field who might run in that election.

    I’m not saying that I agree with it, but it’s not the least nonsensical.

    • Got it :) I guess I must be in a bad mood yesterday/today with all the folks I am poking at.

      On point 2 that you made, if they are a good candidate than why don’t they want to apply during the vacancy.

      I have no issue with Jan Grimes, however, this is an elected position and I believe that whoever applies for the position needs to be aware of this and willing to be an elected official.

  2. TJ said

    How is it good governance, during a financial crisis, for John Moorlach to hold the seat open In case he decides he might want to run for it in case he fails at all else.

    • OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

      It wouldn’t be “good governance” if one acted for the political reason I mentioned. I could be “good governance” if they acted for the good governance reason I mentioned.

      As for the specific example of Moorlach: I never mentioned him. Do you know something about his plans?

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