Open Letter: Why I am Running for Alameda County Auditor-Controller

By Melissa Wilk
I am running for Auditor Controller for Alameda County on the June Ballot.  Currently, I serve as the Chief Deputy Auditor-Controller for Alameda County, responsible for: controlling, auditing and reporting $3 billion in tax payer funds; directing a staff of over 200 people who serve over 125,000 walk-in customers every year in our three locations.

I enhance fiscal transparency by completing and digitizing hundreds of financial reports, records and audits and making them available to the public, and as the Official Custodian for Alameda County, I am responsible for over 25 million archived records. I have also been personally responsible for hiring every employee in the past 10 years, and I’m proud to say our office is now 85 percent minority represented and 75 percent women.

I’m running for this position because I am the most qualified candidate—I have been on the executive finance management team for Alameda County for over 15 years.  I believe in being fiscally responsible, while still supporting our progressive values.

I will continue to provide the excellence in financial reporting and transparency that has earned Alameda County the highest credit ratings possible—we are only one of two counties to have this AAA rating. Being able to borrow money at lower interest rates allows us to use those savings to address critical funding issues like affordable housing, homelessness, quality healthcare and education for everyone.

When elected to this office, I am going to hit the ground running and set up a series of community engagement meetings with the public so they understand what we do; further transparency by enhancing our website to include links to all audits and financial reports, as well as an online feedback form for citizens; and look to push our services into the communities we serve through additional satellite offices or co-locating with other public offices.

I was raised by a very liberal single mom and that experience has helped shape my values and ideals.  I will continue to bring those values into my office, and I will continue to ensure that the most vulnerable populations of Alameda County have a voice within my office.


  1. Melissa Wilk is exactly what Alameda County does not need! It’s shameful that for the past 40 years we have not had leadership in the Auditor Controllers office that are qualified experts in their field. This is why Alameda County residents have no idea what our 3 billion dollar budget is actually doing for us! We have no insight into how money is being dispersed and how various departments are performing. This is unacceptable, the whole regime needs to be thrown out! The previous Auditor/Controller had only A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA, and held the office unopposed for years due to the “good old boys” network. Melissa Wilk does not hold a degree in accounting or anything close to the field. SHE IS NOT QUALIFIED TO CONTROL OUR BUDGET AND HOLD GOVERNMENT TO A STANDARD OF ACCOUNTABILITY. She has been able to maintain a job in the department. That does NOT make her qualified or experienced enough to give us what we need in this office. I encourage all to research for yourselves and let the facts speak!!!

  2. Melisa wilk is EXACTLY what the county needs. As the current Alameda County Deputy Chief Auditor-Controller she has been a leader on the Alameda County financial management team for 15 years and has done incredible work to bring Alameda County into the strong financial shape it is currently in, including helping the County achieve the rare “Triple-Triple” of AAA credit ratings (A big deal – as the county can borrow funds at lower interest rates so more taxpayer dollars go directly to funding critical infrastructure needs and less to paying high interest rate – a HUGE taxpayer savings over time.) All three credit rating agencies have praised the county’s strong management team and sound financial management policies.

    Why would one suggest trying to fix what is not broken when it comes to county financial management? Insinuating that there is some sort of sinister “regime” is ridiculous. The office has been unopposed for years because the current management has been doing such a good job! Alameda County is currently at the height of financial stability – a true rarity among California counties. Now is not the time to bring in an inexperienced and under-qualified person for such a profoundly important job.

    The Alameda County Auditor-Controller controls, audits and reports Alameda County’s $3 billion budget; apportions billions of dollars in property taxes; disburses over $2 billion in payments to vendors; and collects over $150 million in property transfer tax. These are all extremely technical responsibilities learned through years of experience, hard work and dedication. Melissa Wilk has all three of these qualifications.

    Melissa Wilk’s only opponent, Irella Blackwood, simply does not have the same experience and a position with as many complexities as Auditor-Controller in a county as vast as Alameda County is not the place to learn on the job.

    Blackwood is merely a “chief auditor” at City and County of San Francisco – a job far less demanding and technical than Melissa Wilk’s current position as “Chief Deputy Auditor-Controller.” Though the title may sound quite similar, the jobs are vastly different.

    Melissa is a dedicated leader whose commitment to the highest standards of transparency, fiscal stewardship and integrity have earned her the support and endorsement of our State’s top fiscal watchdogs – John Chiang, State Treasurer (former State Controller) and Betty Yee, State Controller. Melissa is also endorsed by the current and previous Alameda County Auditor-Controllers and all Bay Area elected Auditor-Controllers.

    Blackwood would be a critically poor choice for Alameda County.

    Melissa’s years of experience on Alameda County’s executive management team, her proven track record of transparency and her strong leadership skills qualify her as the only candidate capable of continuing Alameda County’s legacy of excellent financial management as Auditor Controller.

  3. Here is what is really true:

    – The current Auditor-Controller does NOT just have a high school diploma; he has a college degree.

    – Alameda County has superior financial management and transparency which has led to it receiving a “AAA” rating from all three major credit rating agencies as well as multiple awards for “Excellence in Financial Reporting” from the Government Finance Officers Association. Melissa is part of the reason for these prestigious distinctions.

    – Melissa’s opponent struggles to manage her own personal finances. She has been the subject of a county lien for failure to pay her property taxes. Moreover, she bounced a check to the County’s Registrar of Voters within days of closing on the purchase of a million dollar house, expanding her real estate holdings in Alameda County. Paying one’s fair share of taxes is a progressive and ethical value – one that should be put before personal enrichment.

    – Melissa’s opponent currently works as a capital projects auditor for the SFMTA. That’s right, the same SFMTA which recently made the news for cost overruns and project delays involving the Central Subway capital improvement project. It took an EXTERNAL audit firm to bring to light the contract deficiencies which led to these recent issues. Alameda County should not aspire to have SFMTA’s type of financial oversight.

    Melissa is clearly the best choice to lead Alameda County’s finances into the future.

  4. Laura Collier is wrong. Your understanding of local government and objectively is woefully lacking. I for one, will have none of it.

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