In a unanimous vote, the Maui County Council appointed Lance Taguchi of Wailuku as County Auditor, Council Chair Gladys C. Baisa announced today.
Resolution 13-73, adopted 9-0, states that Taguchi will take office on July 1, 2013, or as soon thereafter as is practicable. Taguchi is expected to lay the policy and operational groundwork for the new position starting early next month.
On June 12, the Budget and Finance Committee endorsed Taguchi’s nomination, as recommended by a temporary investigative group, which consisted of Councilmembers Mike White, Riki Hokama and Don Couch. Seventeen candidates applied for the position.
During the committee discussion, Council members expressed high regard for Taguchi’s qualifications. Council Chair Baisa noted he has an “extremely impressive resume and has met and exceeded expectations.”
Taguchi was questioned by the committee on his background and his ability to provide an independent point of view after having worked in the County’s executive and legislative branches.
Taguchi responded by assuring the committee about strict professional standards and safeguards followed in the audit process. He stressed his commitment to remain independent in mind and in appearance.
“This position requires integrity and credibility – someone who has the ability to perform the job with an independent point of view and, at the same time, substantial knowledge about County operations,” Taguchi said.
Taguchi, a County employee for 13 years, currently serves as Deputy County Clerk. Council members have noted his vast experience with County government. He previously served in the Mayor’s Office as an Executive Assistant and as a Legislative Analyst for the Office of Council Services.
Taguchi, a Certified Public Accountant, has also worked in the visitor and the construction industry.
During an interview today, Taguchi elaborated on his professional track record.
“In my career, I have gained much experience in the private sector,” he said. “When I started working for government, I learned that performing well is not always about profitability.
“Instead, it is about quality public service to the citizens – regardless of stature – to the best of your ability.”
In an earlier statement made by Taguchi, he expressed his hesitation to apply in the position.
“It is a daunting task,” he said. “But someone once told me that you have to do something to make a difference and help the next generation”
Taguchi, a father of two, recalls how his parents stressed upon him important core values growing up at a plantation in Waikapu. “They taught me about honesty, fairness and the value of giving back to the community,” he said.
Taguchi talked about his goals and vision for the new Office of the County Auditor: “Part of my objective is to make sure that this position is not to be perceived as an adversary to the County. My goal is to improve public service by offering my office as another venue to provide the public with clarity and transparency.
Taguchi also mentioned the need to retain office space and then hire three or four staff members. He noted the office has a substantial workload, which can include requests submitted to his office in addition to those mandated by the County Charter.
“Already, I need to start working on the County’s financial audit, as required by the Charter, to be submitted six months from the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1),” he said.
Taguchi plans to develop an audit plan and encourages input from the administration, the Council and, most especially, from the public. “It is an exciting new chapter for me, and I am truly honored to be your County Auditor,” he said.
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