Acting controller steps down after 24 days
When Kathy Augustine returns to the controller’s office today, Kim Huys will become one of those interesting footnotes in Nevada history: The constitutional officer who served the shortest time in office without dying or being removed.
“That was my goal,” she said Saturday as the Senate voted that Augustine not be removed from office.
It’s been just 24 days since Gov. Kenny Guinn appointed Huys, Augustine’s chief deputy, acting controller following the controller’s impeachment by the Assembly.
Huys took the job, but made it very clear she had no ambitions to keep it or to run for office. She agreed to do the job to make sure there was no interruption in the flow of checks, warrants and in the financial operations of state government.”Since I’m chief deputy, I’m the obvious choice to keep things running smooth until the charges against Kathy are resolved. I don’t expect to be doing it very long,” she said in an interview two days before the Senate confirmed her judgment by censuring Augustine and ordering her back to work.
Huys was also an obvious choice for many of the same reasons Augustine hired her. She has 25 years in public service, almost all of it in governmental financial offices, plus substantial experience in the private sector. She helped implement Nevada’s Integrated Financial System, and has been Augustine’s second in command for almost 18 months.
“I stepped up to the plate happily because I thought I could help, and the functions of this office are critical,” she said. “My goal is to keep the daily operations of the office functioning well.”
Naming an acting controller was important because only the controller can sign checks and sign off on other critical financial actions. Huys’ first task after confirmation by the Nevada Senate Nov. 12 was to sign authorizations issuing Department of Transportation payroll checks.
With Augustine back today, she said she will gladly return to her job as chief deputy.
Huys started her career with the Lewis County, Wash., county auditor’s office in 1975 as a clerk. She worked for the Southwest Washington Fair and Thurston County in Washington, getting a degree in accounting and, with her husband Jean-Paul, raising two sons.
Her road to Nevada began when American Management Systems hired her after implementing the computerized financial system in Thurston County. She came to Nevada working for that company to help set up a similar system – the Integrated Financial System, which now handles accounting, payroll, purchasing and personnel records in Nevada.
Implementation of IFS is one of the accomplishments of which both Augustine and Huys are most proud. She said it’s not the only accomplishment during Augustine’s tenure.
“Looking back, I believe we’ve been successful,” she said citing programs to collect money owed the state from everyone from delinquent companies to bounced checks at Department of Motor Vehicles, greatly streamlined payment processes and tighter controls over state money as a result of IFS.
“The last few years, I’ve been pretty much dedicated to my job,” she said. “I really love my work because I like to fix things, see them get better.”
Beyond work, she says, she likes to travel. Among the trips that most stick in her mind is the college trip to Europe to study classical Greek art. During that trip, she met her husband on a Greek island.
And there was a semester of study in China in the mid-1990s, while doing a masters paper on Sino-American joint-venture businesses.
Huys said her husband enjoys his position as an environmental scientist in the Department of Conservation as much as she enjoys her work.
“I love the public sector,” she said. “There are a lot of really good people working for the citizens of Nevada, and I like to think I’m one of them.”
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.