When Madera County Auditor-Controller Marcia Hall resigned in a snit after last week’s primary election, she left the county in a lurch. She cleaned out her desk and vacated her office at the County Administration Building, apparently having suffered enough of the insults and injuries that make up a political campaign.
Apparently someone didn’t tell her that politics can be a contact sport, one hardly as tidy as a balanced ledger. Someone also apparently never told her that once the election is over, winners and losers alike treat each other with respect. Maybe they take a few days to cool off. But they complete their public obligations and assist in an orderly transition to the new order.
Todd Miller, who won the election, and who had planned an orderly learning curve of some five months so he would know how to handle the job when he took it over, was presented with what could have been an unwelcome chore. But he stepped up to the water and dove right in, to try to make sure the auditor-controller’s office continued to function.
His quick movement toward the chair of responsibility also minimized any harm Hall’s sudden departure might have caused.
For their part, the county supervisors also did the right thing by clearing the way for Miller to take over in an orderly way. His appointment will be made official next Tuesday.
Hall’s decision to suddenly depart surprised a lot of people who had come to know her as a tough and level-headed auditor. But she didn’t come into the job as a politician, although the board of supervisors clearly expected her to run for the job when the time came. Without political knowhow, though, she made some mistakes. And, she wasn’t prepared for the professional and rough-and-tumble campaign that was run against her.
The auditor-controller’s office hasn’t been good for the past four people who have held it. Let’s hope Miller is able to break the chain of bad karma.