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Controller candidacy in question: Former Burlingame mayor files suit over other candidate’s qualifications
March 12, 2014, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal

Juan Raigoza

Joe Galligan

The assistant county controller running to fill the open seat of his former boss is not legally qualified to hold the position, according to his opponent who filed suit Tuesday afternoon asking a judge to determine if Juan Raigoza meets the minimum requirements.

“I don’t know how Mr. Raigoza is qualified to run for the position,” Joe Galligan said. “He’s not a CPA, he’s not a certified internal auditor, he’s not been the county’s assistant controller for three years.”

Galligan, a former Burlingame mayor and certified public accountant, said Raigoza also doesn’t meet what he believes is the definition of having five years in a senior fiscal management position. Raigoza, who became assistant controller after Bob Adler’s appointment to fill out an unexpired term, was manager of information systems.

“That’s preparing payroll or making sure all the departments can talk to each other. That’s not a fiscal manager. It’s a responsibility and a major one but not a fiscal management one,” Galligan said.

Galligan said, in his opinion, senior fiscal manager equates to a controller or a chief financial officer position.

Raigoza’s spokesman, Alex Tourk disagreed with Galligan and said “the accusation questioning Mr. Raigoza’s qualifications is absolutely false.”

Some of qualifications listed in the government code are subjective, said County Counsel Glenn Levy.

“As such, a judge would have the ability to decide the merits of Mr. Galligan’s arguments,” Levy wrote to the Daily Journal.

Galligan said he contacted the Elections Office to verify Raigoza’s qualifications and was told his only recourse was filing suit which he did yesterday. A judicial decision is expected to be fast-tracked to beat the ballot print date.

The county controller must be a U.S. citizen, registered San Mateo County voter and meet the following requirements, according to the Elections Office:

Be a Certified Public Accountant; or, possess a degree from an accredited four-year institution with a major in accounting or its equivalent and serve in a senior fiscal management position at a private firm, government agency or nonprofit for at least three years straight within the last five years; or, be certified as a professional internal auditor with a minimum of 16 semester units or equivalent in accounting, auditing or finance; or serve as the county auditor, chief deputy county auditor or chief assistant county auditor for at least three years continuously.

Once elected, the controller must complete at least 40 hours of continuing education with half being in governmental accounting, auditing or related subjects.

According to Raigoza’s camp, he earned a bachelor’s of arts with a double major in accounting and finance and an MBA in management information systems from California State University at Chico. He worked for the Controller’s Office for 13 years including leading two separate divisions for more than the required three years. He is backed by Adler, former controller Tom Huening and county Supervisor Warren Slocum.

Galligan said he’s open to the possibility that Raigoza may in fact be qualified but that the candidate wouldn’t share any specific ways how with him.

“The bottom line is I hope he qualifies and we can make a race out of this,” Galligan said.

Tourk called Galligan’s challenge to Raigoza’s qualifications an intimidation tactic.

“Instead of repeated legal threats, Mr. Galligan should instead focus on convincing the voters why he as a professional politician is best suited to be a steward of the public’s precious resources,” Tourk wrote in an email to the Daily Journal. 

The candidate filing deadline for the controller position is 5 p.m. Wednesday.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102



Tags: galligan, controller, county, years, position, raigoza,

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