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Indiana

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Indiana lawmaker named newest state auditor

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence on Monday tapped a former county auditor to take over as the newest state auditor in January.

Rep. Suzanne Crouch, R-Evansville, has served in the Indiana House since 2005, including as vice chairwoman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“Suzanne Crouch is an extraordinary individual who shares my belief that our fiscal integrity is the foundation of our prosperity in Indiana,” Pence said. “I know that Hoosiers are going to be able to count on Suzanne Crouch as our new auditor of state, to put her years of experience to work on their behalf each and every day.”

Auditor Dwayne Sawyer abruptly turned in his resignation last month, citing personal and family reasons for his unexpected departure. He served only four months.

He had replaced Fort Wayne native Tim Berry, who served as state auditor for seven years before becoming chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.

Berry was prohibited from seeking a third term in 2014.

Pence acknowledged that he has made changes to the vetting process he uses for all appointments but wouldn’t specify.

“I wish Rep. Crouch the best in her new appointment,” said Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody. “However, Gov. Mike Pence still owes Hoosiers answers about how he chooses state officials and officeholders. This is Indiana’s third auditor this year, meaning there has been little continuity in who is watching Hoosier tax dollars.”

Crouch will start work Jan. 2 and plans to run for a full term next year.

Pence said she did not seek the position earlier this year or now. Instead, he looked at her experience and reached out to her.

Asked if the call came out of the blue, Crouch said, “oh yeah.”

But after discussing it with her husband she decided it was “the best of all worlds” because it allows her to interact with state government, the governor’s office, the legislature and local county auditors.

She previously served two terms as Vanderburgh County auditor.

Indiana’s auditor has 52 employees and a $5 million budget. The primary roles include handling a $1 billion payroll for thousands of state employees; paying state vendors and contractors; and serving on the Indiana Board of Finance and Indiana Public Retirement System board.

Crouch is a Purdue University grad, and co-authored the bill privatizing the Indiana Toll Road – for which the money was used in part to fund the Interstate 69 extension from Evansville to Indianapolis.

A caucus of local precinct committee members will choose a replacement for Crouch. A tentative caucus date is Jan. 4. The legislative session begins Jan. 6.

Erin Sheridan will serve as interim state auditor until Jan. 2.

nkelly@jg.net

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