State Auditor Pat McCarthy has done a solid job leading her office over the past four years. And that’s saying something.
McCarthy inherited a mess from the previous auditor, Troy Kelley, who refused to resign while battling federal theft and fraud charges. He was eventually found guilty of eight felonies.
McCarthy brought a steady hand and strong leadership to an agency that needed to get back on track so it could successfully audit and monitor state and local governments.
McCarthy, a Democrat, is a staunch advocate for good government and transparency.
Her office audits 2,300 local and state government agencies. She has 400 employees stationed around the state to do this difficult and important work, which has become even more challenging in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Before being elected state auditor in 2016, McCarthy served as Pierce County executive from 2009 to 2016 and Pierce County auditor from 2003 to 2008.
McCarthy’s challenger, Republican Chris Leyba, does not appear to be taking this election seriously. His experience does not come close to matching McCarthy.
Under McCarthy’s leadership, the Auditor’s Office is doing top notch work providing fiscal and accountability audits to state and local governments.
She and her staff members — who she consistently praises — work well with small local governments, like water and sewer districts, who sometimes bristle at the audits. The need for monitoring is explained and the majority cooperate — to their benefit. Problems are sometimes found and corrected. Taxpayers are the winners.
In addition to traditional audits, McCarthy’s office is expanding into cyber-security audits. That’s a welcome and prudent move.
The auditor has also been pushing to make the sometimes wonky world of financial and other audits more easily understandable to the general public.
“My vision to ‘increase trust in government’ means greater transparency and accountability of public money. To accomplish this goal, I have created a user-friendly, interactive website that gives you important information about each government that serves you,” McCarthy wrote in her official statement in the Voters’ Pamphlet. “Having an independent, objective review of public dollars is the hallmark of my work at the State Auditor’s Office.”
McCarthy has done an excellent job leading the Auditor’s Office — and restoring its credibility. She had earned a second term in office. We urged her re-election.