• Mychal Evenson

Change Management

Welcome to the eighth of my series of platform posts. This week, I am discussing a management concept: change management. Of all the concepts involved in operating a government, few are more consistently discussed than change. Effective change management can make a government the most successful it has ever been in meeting its goals. Ineffective change management can send a government spiraling into chaos and cause it to lose sight of who it is here to serve: you, the people.

One of my guiding principles as a leader in the government is right in the name of government employees: public servants. It is the job of every government employee to deliver goods and services that serve the public. The worst thing that can happen, in my mind, is that a public servant begins to serve the bureaucracy and not the people. Unfortunately, the incumbent Auditor-Controller has lost sight of this mandate and regularly institutes policies that cause employees to serve the bureaucracy and not the people.

Change is difficult for everyone. All stakeholders for any operational policy change must be involved in the development to gather all vital data. An internal auditing department cannot know all the nuances of the operations of a government. When an internal auditor makes operational policy changes without a full investigation into the current policy, chaos ensues. Those of us who work for the County have observed this chaos firsthand.

The chaos is made worse because these policy changes are often “effective immediately” to work already submitted to the Auditor-Controller. If you read my analysis of the 2/1/2022 board meeting (posted on 2/9), you saw that the Auditor-Controller’s office holds nearly 40% of all accounts payable invoices and takes approximately three weeks to process these invoices. When the incumbent makes a change (which happens regularly), all this work is sent back to the departments despite being compliant with operational policies at the time of submission. The departments must make (often minor) adjustments to the work and return it to the A-C, setting both the departments and the A-C’s Office three more weeks behind. The County is now six weeks behind, and it is impossible to pay anything on time. These policies cost the County tens of thousands in late fees and other penalties.

Effective change is seamless. It begins with planning so that all leadership shares the vision for the future. Planning is crucial because it is the opportunity to discover the things that can go wrong. It is also the opportunity to gather support from leadership around the County. When department leaders back and defend policies that enhance the control environment of the County, fraud detection and prevention are enhanced. This principle is called “tone at the top” and is one of the cornerstones of adequate internal controls.

Here is my plan for change management at the County when I am elected:

  1. Calculate the risk in real dollars

  2. Focus group with stakeholders (County leadership and staff) to identify a mutually beneficial solution

  3. Set an effective date in the future to allow time for operations to catch up to the policy and allow for seamless operations

  4. One major project at a time

  5. Major projects will always take effect at a fiscal year transition

If you want an Auditor-Controller who understands that the Auditor-Controller Department is part of the County and should not be apart from it, vote Mychal Evenson for Auditor-Controller on June 7, 2022.

#HumboldtCounty #Auditor #Controller #Leadership #Change #Management #GetItDone #ResultsMatter #votejune072022 #mychalevensonforauditorcontroller

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