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July 20, 2022 at 12:03 PM update: Email from Mr. Tribble: “No comment, have not been properly served yet”

The hearing to determine if Rob Tribble, the winner of the Auditor-Controller contest, is qualified to serve has been postponed for a week. A complaint filed by Gina Will, his opponent in the race, was set for a hearing today. At the appointed time, Will and her attorney Jim Sutton appeared via Zoom before Nevada County Superior Court Judge Robert Tice-Raskin. County Counsel appeared in person for Clerk-Recorder Greg Diaz, named as an interested party, Diaz joined via Zoom. Several Nevada County staffers, including the CEO, were in attendance. Mr. Tribble was a no show.

The qualifications for the Auditor-Controller’s position include “has served within the last five years in a senior fiscal management position in a county, city, or other public agency, a private firm, or a nonprofit organization, dealing with similar fiscal responsibilities, for a continuous period of not less than three years.” This is at the heart of the complaint filed by Will.

During the proceedings, Judge Tice-Raskin asked, “Do any of the parties presence have any information regarding service of Mr. Tribble?” James Sutton responded they had originally sent Mr. Tribble a letter before Ms. Will filed the elections contest, asking him to provide documentation for his recent jobs with the hopes of avoiding litigation and proving his qualifications. Sutton went on to say Tribble never responded to that letter substantively, but did send an email just acknowledging the receipt of the letter.

County Counsel Kit Elliott stated she had been in email communication with Tribble, as with any incoming elected official. “He was very aware of these proceedings.” According to Elliott, Tribble represented that he had hired legal counsel. Both County Counsel’s office and Will’s attorney James Sutton attempted to contact the lawyer in question. Sutton did get in touch with him, and the attorney said he had not been asked to step in on this proceedings.

With no proof of service of a citation to appear in the court’s records, Nevada County Superior Court Judge Robert Tice-Raskin postponed the hearing for one week.

NCSO spokesperson Andrew Trygg stated several attempts had been made to serve the notice to appear to Mr. Tribble, but deputies were unsuccessful in locating him. They will make another three attempts to serve the new notice in person, if they’re unsuccessful the notice can be posted at Tribble’s residence, according to Elections Code 16501. An email requesting comment by Mr. Tribble was not returned at publication time.

After the hearing, County CEO Alison Lehman, stated “The position [of Auditor-Controller] is at the heart of the financial health of the county as well as for other jurisdictions in the community. Nevada County has a strong interest in terms of having a qualified person in that position.”

Will’s attorney thinks Tribble’s silence speaks volumes. “If he had held one of these jobs [listed in the qualifications for the office] over the last five years, it would be a very simple thing for him to demonstrate one way or the other.”