Linn County Auditor Joel Miller said his request for a judge to clarify his ruling against Miller’s challenge to county supervisors’ authority doesn’t mean he’ll appeal, but it preserves his options.
“It’s a step that has to occur, otherwise you cannot appeal,” Miller said. “We’re just asking him to look at some things we maybe feel he didn’t comment upon.”
Miller’s attorney Peter Riley filed a motion last week requesting District Court Judge Paul Miller to clarify his Nov. 20 ruling that only the supervisors may order an audit of county departments’ books.
“It’s not an appeal, it’s a request of the trial judge to address some things we don’t think the trial judge fully considered,” Riley said. “Joel has not made any decision whether that’s something he wants to pursue.”
The auditor filed suit in February 2010 after supervisors blocked his appointment of a deputy auditor whose duties would have included audits of accounts maintained by other county departments. Supervisors argued the annual audit conducted by an accounting firm is sufficient oversight of the county’s accounts.
Paul Miller ruled the county auditor “does not have explicit authority or implicit authority to conduct audits of other county departments, absent a request by the board of supervisors.”
Riley said Paul Miller’s ruling failed to address some points about county governance under Iowa’s home-rule law, adopted for counties in 1978 with an amendment to the state Constitution.
“Home rule is a fairly new concept,” Riley said. “Most of the cases on county home-rule issues are prior to home rule” taking effect.
Riley’s motion also raises specific questions in the supervisors’ rejection of Joel Miller’s move to name a deputy auditor.