Madera County's Auditor Resigns

December 10, 2008 9:14:04 PM PST
Madera County's auditor made his first court appearance to face a twenty-one count grand jury accusation.Prosecutors say Robert Dewall failed to perform the job voters elected him to do.

Madera County Auditor-Controller Robert Dewall stood before a judge briefly Wednesday morning just two days after submitting his letter of resignation to the Board of Supervisors. Dewall's retirement is set to start December 31st. And the case against him is expected to end with his career.

Madera Co. Sr. Deputy District Attorney Michael Keitz said, "The accusation in and of itself only sought his removal from office."

Dewall has served as Auditor-Controller since 1987. But last month a grand jury filed an accusation against him claiming 21 counts of misconduct. The report said Dewall illegally transferred money from the county's general fund to the auditor's office account and failed to file several critical documents with the state on time. An Assistant Calfire Chief tells Action News the Madera County Fire Department lost a $100 thousand dollar federal grant because the paperwork was late.

Madera Co. Administrative Officer Stell Manfredi said, "When you accumulate all those things that didn't get addressed that should have it caused a concern and we're addressing it."

County Administrator Stell Manfredi says Dewall will still receive a standard retirement package based on his age and number of years in office. But the Board of Supervisors is expected to meet next month to decide how to permanently replace him. The options include appointing someone, holding a special election, or putting the position on a future ballot. Until then, Assistant Auditor-Controller, Jim Boyajian, will fill the role.

"We're not perfect and we're gonna do better in areas and I'm proud that we're moving ahead," said Manfredi.

Dewall and his attorney declined to comment after his arraignment was postponed. He's scheduled to be back in court on January 20th, but that may be his last appearance.

"I expect that if everything has been processed accordingly that come Jan. 20th, then the accusation will be dismissed probably on the court's own motion or on the people's motion because it's moot," said Keitz.

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