County Auditor Tammy Vemmer

First District Commissioner Tim Brinker expressed dismay that no one from Auditor Tammy Vemmer’s office attended a meeting of county officials Thursday.

But Vemmer defended her absence from the meeting and called into question Brinker’s reason for making an issue out of her not being there.

The fear is that Vemmer’s absence from the meeting could be interpreted negatively, which is not good with the morale problems the county has been facing, Brinker said.

He said he is “curious” as to why no one from Vemmer’s office was there.

It is not fair to others if departments skip meetings between officials, Brinker said.

“We’re all in this together,” Brinker said. “We serve the people — each and every one of us.”

To not participate in a meeting that is intended to improve the county services makes a statement, Brinker added.

Vemmer said she could not attend the meeting because she was busy working on the county budget and trying to get numbers together for human resources concerning insurance. Vemmer added that she was trying to accommodate a deadline for the human resources clerk.

Brinker said he had no response to the reason Vemmer gave for being absent from the meeting.

In a prepared statement, Vemmer said, “I totally agree with Tim that we all need to work together as a team. We all need to realize that no one department or office is better than the other. We all have our duties and responsibilities and we need to respect that. One has to ask what Tim’s motivation was to make his comment. I believe he did it to try to publicly humiliate the departments that were unable to attend for whatever reasons. I do not feel this sort of comment or action in itself leads to teamwork or cohesion among departments.”

In response to Vemmer’s statement, Brinker said his hope is that everyone can work together.

Brinker said he does not see problems between the county commission and auditor’s office. However, he said there could be different interpretations regarding statutory duties of the commissioners and auditor’s office. He offered no specific duties that could be in question.

But he said he thinks matters are headed in the direction of “clearance and clarity” and that there are “good things ahead.”

The meeting was held in the commission chambers to discuss various county updates. Some of the topics at the meeting were county credit card use, morale issues and reimbursement for employee expenses. The meeting was for elected officials and department heads.

The departments that attended the meeting showed that they care, Brinker said.