Linn County auditor Miller takes spat with supervisors to appeals court

County denies Miller's request to pay legal fees for appeal

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Linn County Auditor Joel Miller is taking his dispute with the Linn County Board of Supervisors to the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Miller notified the board on Monday that he intended to appeal a decision by the Linn County District Court, which in November sided with the supervisors against Miller about the scope of Millerís duties.

The appeal announcement raised a new matter of dispute: Who is going to pay to handle Millerís appeal?

Miller wants the county to continue to pay his legal fees, and the supervisors on Monday said they would not. Miller has needed a private attorney because the Linn County Attorney canít represent both the supervisors and the auditor in a dispute between them.

To date, Millerís attorney has billed the county about $15,600.

Miller filed his suit against the supervisors in 2010 after the supervisors blocked his appointment of a deputy auditor hired to, in part, conduct audits of county departments. The supervisors noted that the county hires an outside audit firm to do that work each year.

In his ruling in November, District Judge Paul Miller said that Auditor Miller did not have authority to conduct audits of other county departments without a request from the Board of Supervisors.

Miller said on Monday he wants the appellate court to answer a fundamental question: Why canít he audit the countyís books if his elected title is auditor? Maybe his title should be "dogcatcher," not auditor, Miller said.

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