Cubbison suspended without salary or benefits
Supervisors did not refer to Auditor Controller Treasurer Tax Collector Chamise Cubbison by name on Tuesday as they briefly discussed their unanimous decision to suspend her without salary or benefits. The Board also agreed unanimously to appoint Deputy CEO Sara Pierce to hold Cubbison’s role on an acting basis.
District Attorney David Eyster charged Cubbison and former payroll manager Paula Kennedy last week with felony mismanagement of $68,000 in public funds. They were booked and released over the weekend. They were due to be arraigned on Tuesday morning, but the proceeding has been continued until the morning of October 31st. They have not entered a plea in the case.
Cubbison has retained a private attorney, while Kennedy will be assigned a public defender if the court determines that she cannot afford to hire private counsel. Cubbison ran unopposed last year to take on the combined office of Treasurer Tax Collector and Auditor Controller. The Board has criticized her performance and timeliness, while Cubbison has pointed to the outside auditor and low staffing as reasons for the long-delayed financial reports. A state audit is underway, after supervisors and labor leaders asked the state controller’s office to look into the situation.
Eyster appeared before the Board on Tuesday morning to say the investigation into the two women was initiated by the Sheriff’s office, and that he does not plan to publicly discuss the case, out of fears of tainting the jury pool.
The Board found that the matter qualified as an urgency item, since new information had become available after the agenda for the meeting was published. After an afternoon closed session, Supervisor Ted Williams, who has been Cubbison’s fiercest critic, made a motion to put it on the agenda. Supervisor John Haschak, who was the lone vote against combining the two offices, seconded it. Williams also made the motion to suspend Cubbison without pay or benefits, and to appoint Pierce to the elected position.