THE ISSUE: Officeholder’s absence during office hours.

OUR VIEW: If you want the job — show up and do the work.

In most any profession you can name, being present during office hours or for your scheduled shift is required. Failure to do so isn’t tolerated.

Elected officials should be held to the same standard.

Somehow, though, a few officials are under the impression they can show up whenever they want, work off hours at night or on weekends, and work from home.

That may be convenient for them, serve their needs — but they aren’t serving the needs of their constituents. After all, members of the public aren’t able to access county offices after hours or on weekends.

The face time is important. So are timely answers from the auditor to questions posed by the public, other county officials, and workers in their own office.

The latest Floyd County officeholder to come under scrutiny is Auditor Scott Clark, who is accused by numerous county officials of often being absent from his office.

Clark doesn’t appear to refute that notion. In response to a question about his workday habits, Clark told the New and Tribune that the auditor’s job was 24/7 and he works from home and on weekends.

Supervisory responsibilities are among officeholders’ duties, too. Auditor Clark shouldn’t expect the office to run at optimum efficiency in his absence. And he sure shouldn’t blame his workers when it doesn’t.

As the News and Tribune told readers earlier this week, the IRS fined Floyd County over $21,400 for failure to properly file its employer’s quarterly federal tax return and the late remittance of payroll withholding taxes. Floyd County paid the fines, but the auditor will have to reimburse the county either with his own money or through his bond.

All this was detailed in a State Board of Accounts audit report. Clark sent to the Board of Accounts a response letter, in which he pointed to employee turnover thus “less experienced employees” as a factor in the late payments.

“The incident was an error in performing the duties in the scope of the auditor’s office,” Clark wrote in his letter. He also noted a new policy he instituted to rectify the problem.

All the more reason the auditor needs to provide oversight — he has six years on-the-job experience — and guidance to the workers he is tasked with supervising.

The buck stops with the elected official. It’s not enough to just hold the office, you have to be present in order to be effective.

— The News and Tribune Editorial Board members are Publisher Bill Hanson, Editor Susan Duncan, and Assistant Editors Chris Morris and Jason Thomas.

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