Governor Mike Pence has named Dwayne Sawyer to replace Auditor Tim Berry after Berry left to become the state GOP chairman. The position is key to state business, but much of what the auditor does is not in the public view.
To better explain what the auditor does and why Sawyer’s appointment is important, we’ve chosen five things you should know about the state auditor. Here they are:
1) The auditor pays Indiana’s bills and state employees.
Every check Indiana sends out is signed by the auditor, so if you’re a state employee or state contractor, you need the auditor before you can get paid.
2) The auditor maintains Indiana’s finances.
The auditor’s biggest event each year is the close-out of the fiscal year in July. The auditor compiles the annual reports, which inform the governor and other political leaders of the state’s fiscal condition. If the state has a surplus, as it did this year, those leaders must then decide how to spend that money.
3) Despite the title, the auditor does not audit state government.
That job is done by the Board of Accounts, which audits all governmental units within the state, including cities, towns, utilities, schools, counties, license branches, state agencies, hospitals, libraries, townships, and state colleges and universities.
4) The auditor is one of seven elected positions in state government.
The auditor is constitutionally limited to two, four-year terms. Because former auditor Tim Berry left before his term was over, the new state auditor Dwayne Sawyer, will serve out the remainder of Berry’s term. He will have to run for election in November 2014 if he wants to remain in office.
Governor Pence said last month when deciding who to appoint, he was seeking someone who would be a viable candidate next year.
5) The new state auditor is the first African-American Republican to hold statewide office in Indiana.
With his appointment, Dwayne Sawyer becomes the first black Republican to hold a statewide office. Pence said while he was humbled to be a part of history, but he chose Sawyer because he thinks he is the best person for the job.