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2 former Michigan treasurers aid in search for auditor general [Detroit Free Press :: ]
[January 24, 2014]

2 former Michigan treasurers aid in search for auditor general [Detroit Free Press :: ]

(Detroit Free Press (MI) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 24--LANSING -- Two former state treasurers are assisting the Michigan Legislature in a national search for the first new state auditor general in a quarter-century.

Mark Murray, treasurer under former Republican Gov. John Engler, said notices will soon be posted with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers and other professional bodies.

"This is one of the really important jobs in state government," Murray said Thursday. "It's obviously nonpartisan." Among others assisting in the search is Robert Kleine, treasurer under former Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Thomas McTavish, 71, last year became the longest serving auditor general in Michigan history. He is now in his 25th year as a watchdog of government spending, having agreed to stay on beyond the end of his third eight-year term.

"The speaker felt that since the appointment is for eight years, that it was important for a national search to be conducted to ensure we have all possible options ... available," said Ari Adler, a spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall.

McTavish, who was not available for comment, told the Free Press last year he wanted a fourth term. But Bolger's office announced in October a search would be conducted.

That announcement came soon after the September release of a controversial auditor general's report that said the Michigan Economic Development Corp. gave the Legislature inaccurate information about the number of jobs associated with certain grants it awarded.

State Rep. Vicki Barnett, D-Farmington Hills, suggested the events were linked.

"What a way to thank someone for being a good steward of taxpayer dollars," Barnett said in a news release.

Adler said the suggestion is "baseless." "First, that's not how Speaker Bolger operates," he said. "Second, there are a number of members of our caucus who are critical of the MEDC's operations and have been under both Gov. Granholm and Gov. Snyder's leadership." McTavish is paid about $161,000 a year. The salary range for his successor was not immediately available.

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