Brock’s office hours questioned in State Auditor race

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(Host) There’s a dispute in the race for State Auditor over whether or not incumbent Republican Randy Brock is spending enough time on the job.

Progressive candidate Martha Abbott says a review of Brock’s official schedule indicates that he’s been out of the office about 20% of the time over the past two years.

Brock says the charges are false.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Abbott says she formally requested Brock’s official schedule after hearing reports that he’s frequently out of the office.

According to Abbott’s analysis, Brock has been away from the office roughly 20% of the time since February of 2005 and another 38% of his time during this period is unaccounted for.

(Abbott) “Where is the State Auditor and what is he doing? The Auditor’s job is clearly a full time job. There is no debate about that. Vermonter’s pay for and deserve a full time auditor and in fact, in July, his salary was raised from $84,000 a year to $91,000 dollars a year.”

(Kinzel) Brock says he’s been working hard as auditor and that his schedule doesn’t always reflect the work that he’s doing.

(Brock) “She’s wrong on the facts, wrong on the analysis and wrong on the conclusions. It seems as though that she has nothing but good things to say about the professional quality of my work. She has to resort to grasping at straws. If you look at that schedule because a day has a blank it doesn’t mean that I’m out of the office.”

(Kinzel) Abbott says she also views the responsibilities of the auditor’s office very differently than Brock. She believes the office should aggressively evaluate important policy concerns:

(Abbott) “He’s not providing us with any sort of performance reviews, any sort of understanding of what our tax money is being spent on, and why whether it’s being spent well or poorly, whether the programs in state government are meeting their designated goals that they’ve set for themselves, where they’re falling short. Why are we spending the incredible amounts of money we’re spending on education and health care?”

(Kinzel) Brock says it’s critical for the state auditor not to take positions on controversial issues because it’s important for the auditor to conduct reviews with an unbiased approach:

(Brock) “I think that Martha’s platform is a great platform if you’re the Progressive candidate for governor or for the state legislature those are policy driven agenda items but as the auditor the auditor has to be independent the auditor has to be able to approach an audit of any area without bias that is a fundamental requirement of government auditing standards.”

(Kinzel) Democrat Tom Salmon is also seeking the office of State Auditor.

For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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