Endorsements, Opinion

Endorsement: Mary Ann Claytor for state auditor

From The Charleston Gazette-Mail:

When longtime state auditor Glen B. Gainer III announced he would not seek re-election, a number of candidates filed to fill the empty seat. Risen to the top is Mary Ann Claytor, a Democrat from St. Albans.

Claytor actually worked in the auditor’s office for more than 20 years, then left to care for her adult son who became seriously ill.

In running for the office now, Claytor can sound like a political novice, at least in the sort of glib self-promotion often associated with campaigning.

But as soon as she turns to the nuts and bolts of running the state office responsible for bookkeeping and inspecting records of the public’s money, both at the state and local levels, then she is all knowledge and confidence:

Claytor originally opposed shifting state employees to a 26-week pay schedule, saying she worried what even small delays and payday disruptions would do to the state’s lowest-income workers. Now that many state departments have made the change, she says she would survey employees and find out how they are actually affected before evaluating the cost of reverting to the old system.

On the much-maligned OASIS computer system installed in recent years, Claytor said she would review bid specifications and examine the system to discover what if anything the state paid for that it is not getting.

She plans to offer more opportunities for local governments to train their own employees, to improve their own bookkeeping and practices, and ultimately lower the cost of audits for municipalities across the state.

She sees potential to cut some travel costs by sending auditors out to jobs closest to them, rather than on opposite sides of the state.

She wants to build on the office’s efforts to put more public information online, though without the notes that were formerly posted that could be security problems.

The job of state auditor is administrative, but it is important work, keeping public books and accounts clean and straight, so that public money is spent appropriately and people have confidence that it is.

Mary Ann Claytor has the right qualifications and straightforward demeanor suited to the job, and we encourage voters to support her on Nov. 8.

Early voting begins Oct. 26.


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