4 are vying in state auditor general’s race

HARRISBURG  (AP) — Three candidates are vying to unseat Pennsylvania’s Democratic auditor general, Eugene DePasquale, in the Nov. 8 election.

The auditor general is the commonwealth’s top fiscal watchdog, and is limited to two, four-year terms.

A look at the office and the candidates:

THE JOB

The auditor general oversees an office with more than 400 employees and a budget of over $50 million.

The department is tasked with auditing state spending and reviewing best practices for state agencies and employees.

Recent audits have included reviews of higher education institutions. In August, DePasquale announced his office would audit Penn State University’s performance across its 24 campuses.

The position has been used as a political springboard. The last three elected auditors general — Jack Wagner, Bob Casey Jr. and Barbara Hafer — each later ran for a higher office.

The auditor general’s annual salary is $157,598.

THE CANDIDATES

Democrat Eugene DePasquale, 45, is the incumbent. He previously served as a state representative for three terms before he was elected to his current office in 2012. He holds a law degree from Widener University School of Law.

Republican John Brown, 55, currently serves as the Northampton County executive. He previously served as mayor of Bangor after spending most of his career in the private sector. His private sector work included working with struggling companies and in business startups. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Green Party candidate John J. Sweeney, 63, is the Falls Township auditor in Wyoming County. He has served as the state’s Green Party chair and operates a wood-finishing and painting business there. Sweeney studied at Temple University and the Philadelphia College of Art.

Libertarian candidate Roy Minet, 75, is a retired Lancaster County businessman. He previously served on the Pennsylvania Libertarian party’s board of directors. He has worked in engineering, sales, management, owned a beer distributorship and founded a computer software company later sold to 3M Corporation. Minet holds a master’s degree in business from Northwestern University.

CANDIDATE

PLATFORMS

DePasquale: He said he plans to build upon his first term to find additional savings, improve state infrastructure and create jobs. He is pledging to perform a follow-up audit of the Department of Environmental Protection. In his first term, some of the audits performed by his agency looked at school districts, a hotline that handles reports of suspected child abuse and municipal pension debt.

Brown: A top priority for Brown is highlighting inefficiencies in state programs and agencies. He says he would work with municipalities to create plans to resolve identified issues. He also says he would monitor the governors’ spending plan.

Sweeney: He is pledging to audit agencies like the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation and Turnpike Commission, as well as to review the General Assembly’s operating budget.

Minet: He said he would target government inefficiencies, and if elected, would recommend ways to shrink government.

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