(Host) State Auditor Tom Salmon says people who hold his job should be appointed, not elected.
He says that would take politics out of auditing. But his Democratic opponent isn’t so sure.
VPR’s Ross Sneyd has more.
(Sneyd) Tom Salmon has been state auditor for almost four years now. He was first elected as a Democrat, but last year switched to the Republican Party.
But in a debate on VPR’s Vermont Edition, he suggested that auditors should be appointed in the future.
(Salmon) "It should be studied. I can’t say yes or no right now. But I think it should be seriously considered, yes."
(Sneyd) Doug Hoffer is the Democrat in the race. He thinks Salmon’s suggestion is a bad idea because it would only inject more politics into the office.
(Hoffer) "I don’t think it should be appointed, no. I think the auditor should feel free and comfortable to criticize any administration regardless of party. And they’re going to be much less likely to do that if they’re appointed by the governor."
(Sneyd) Salmon says he wouldn’t want to have the governor involved in the appointment. He would follow models set in other states that appoint their auditors.
(Salmon) "There’s about two-thirds of the states have an auditor that is appointed by a group, a bipartisan, like the Government Accountability Committee. You have to maintain your independence."
(Sneyd) The two candidates also tangled about the experience they have for the office. Salmon questioned how Hoffer could be auditor without a deep background in auditing or accounting.
Hoffer says he’s spent years running a consulting business that addresses the same thing the auditor does. One of his clients for five years was the auditor’s office when Ed Flanagan held the post.
(Hoffer) "I’ve got five years of experience. There’s a number of reports on your Web site that I was the principal author of. And nobody would deny that. And you can call Ed and ask him."
(Sneyd) In addition to Hoffer and Salmon, Jerry Levy is running for auditor. He represents the Liberty Union Party.
For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.