12:00 AM PDT on Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

It’s been a long campaign for Ivan Chand and Paul Angulo as they vie to become Riverside County’s next auditor-controller.

The post was the only county office not decided in the June primary election and now heads to a Nov. 2 runoff.

Chand received the most votes in June but with 44.3 percent did not garner enough support to avoid the runoff. Angulo came in second with 28.1 percent.

The winner will succeed incumbent Auditor-Controller Robert Byrd, who announced in February that he would not seek a third four-year term.

The auditor-controller, elected countywide, oversees the disbursement of county money and performs independent audits of county departments and agencies.

The two candidates are pushing platforms of increased openness and transparency. Both support the county’s current efforts to revamp a 40-year-old property tax management system.

In an interview this week, Chand said he wants to also improve the office’s technology, boost training, establish an audit committee and work to hold government agencies accountable.

“We feel good about our chances,” he said. “We want to make the county’s auditor-controller’s operation the best fiscal operation in the county.”

Chand, the finance director for the county Flood Control and Water Conservation District, has received the endorsements of Byrd, all five county supervisors, Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Larry Ward and Treasurer-Tax Collector Don Kent, among others.

He has raised nearly $83,500 since January, including $35,180 since July 1, campaign finance records show.

Angulo, a CPA, had worked as an accountant in the auditor-controller’s office for seven years until this summer. Previously, he worked in the private sector for 25 years.

He raised $40,000 through June 30. But as of Thursday, he had not yet filed updated campaign finance disclosure reports covering July 1 through Sept. 30, more than a week after the Oct. 5 deadline.

Angulo said he plans to create a transparency committee made up of citizens to help serve as a watchdog of county operations. In addition, Angulo said he will bring “basic business practices” to the office in an effort to avoid what he called “self-inflicted wounds.”

Angulo cited a 2005 case with the Teeter Plan, a mechanism that allows the county to advance property tax revenue to cities, schools and special districts before those taxes are collected.

An error allowed some revenue to amass in the fund for more than a decade rather than be dispersed to local agencies. All told, the county returned $92.5 million to cities and special districts in 2005.

Angulo said Chand was an assistant auditor-controller at the time and shares responsibility for the mistakes.

“My opponent has yet to take any responsibility for that,” Angulo said. “This is not good for the taxpayer. The next auditor-controller needs to take responsibility for his actions.”

Chand said when officials discovered the Teeter fund problem, it was corrected.

“None of it was used for any other purpose,” he said. “Every single penny was accounted for.”

Meanwhile, Angulo declined to discuss details of his departure from the auditor’s office on Sept. 7.

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