Hawaii County has a new legislative auditor.
The County Council, by an 8-0 vote, approved Bonnie S. Nims to the six-year post, which has been vacant more than a year. Nims, who most recently worked for the U.S. Department of Defense, starts May 1.
Council members praised Nims for her experience and her attitude.
“We’re here to work with the government,” Nims said. “We are not here to fight.”
“I love your solutions approach,” said Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter.
Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille said she appreciated Nims because “she has the smarts, she has the spine and she understands and likes island life.”
Council Chairman J Yoshimoto praised Nims for her energy and her extensive experience.
Prior to her work auditing documents for the Defense Department, Nims served a two-year stint in the American Samoa Government Territorial Audit Office. Before that, she worked for 16 years for the state of Washington, ending as an audit supervisor overseeing 15 employees.
Sims is a certified government auditing professional.
The auditor, a position set by county charter, serves for six years unless removed for cause by a two-thirds vote of the council. The mayor has no say in the appointment or removal of the auditor.
Nims’ selection went more smoothly than the only other time a charter-authorized auditor was hired by the county. At that time, a more divided council split the vote, but did approve Colleen Schrandt to the position, which paid $94,284 annually and oversaw a staff of four.
Schrandt, who left the county to take a position with the United Nations in New York City, had endorsed her former deputy, Lane Shibata, as a permanent replacement.
A 2008 charter amendment requires the County Council to appoint an auditor who has free rein to inspect county records and require employees to be available for questioning as the auditor prepares performance and financial audits of administrative and legislative departments.