INDIANAPOLIS – The town council president from Brownsburg will be the new state auditor, Gov. Mike Pence announced the appointment Thursday.
Dwayne Sawyer will replace Fort Wayne’s Tim Berry, who left to run the Indiana Republican Party.
Pence said he chose Sawyer for four reasons – professional competence, experience in political office, a history of political activity and his character and integrity.
“He has a heart for public service,” Pence said.
The state auditor tracks all state funds; disburses county, city, town and school tax monies; pays the state’s bills; and handles the state payroll.
Pence acknowledged the history of the moment – Sawyer is the first black Republican to serve in statewide office – but said he chose him because he was the right person for the job.
“The historic nature of Dwayne’s appointment to this statewide position is a shining example of the growing strength and broadening appeal of Indiana’s Republican Party,” Berry said in a release. “Dwayne embodies our message of working hard, each and every day, to make life better for our fellow Hoosiers and his appointment will help reinforce that message across the state.”
Sawyer’s response to the history was, “It is what it is. My focus is serving all of the people of Indiana with distinction.”
A Purdue grad, Sawyer had expressed interest in running for state auditor even before Berry’s vacancy, another factor in his selection.
“I know we all believe Indiana’s best days are ahead and I am truly honored to serve as part of the team,” he said.
Sawyer is president of the Brownsburg Town Council and most recently helped pass a controversial annexation in Brownsburg that will add 4,500 acres to the town.
He most recently worked as a senior software engineer and was previously employed at Roche Diagnostics.
Sawyer will be sworn in Monday, and have a salary of nearly $75,000.
Until then, Deputy Auditor Kirke Willing will serve as interim auditor.
Berry remained in his state post until Tuesday when he resigned three weeks after being voted in as the new GOP state party chairman. During that time he received a state paycheck and volunteered for the Indiana Republican Party – a move that drew criticism.
Pence said he received counsel that it was acceptable and appropriate for Berry to volunteer his time during that period. But once Pence had picked a new auditor – he made the decision Monday – Berry resigned.
He confirmed Berry worked full-time for the state during those weeks.
But the Indiana Democratic Party isn’t convinced. It filed a request Thursday for Berry’s schedule and emails during the time period in question.