INDIANAPOLIS | Gov. Mike Pence has so far interviewed four "really excellent" individuals for the expected state auditor vacancy, but claimed Thursday that he'll still talk with any Hoosier who wants the $74,580-a-year job.
"I'm going to consider anyone who expresses an interest in the position," Pence said. "We're going to take our time, with the exclusive focus on who the best person would be to serve our state in this critically important role."
The Republican governor has recommended current State Auditor Tim Berry become chairman of the Indiana Republican Party. The GOP state committee is expected to elect Berry to that post July 22.
Berry then will resign as state auditor, giving Pence the choice of who finishes the 18 months remaining in Berry's second term.
Pence said he's looking for someone who not only can manage the state's various funds and pay its bills in the short term, but also someone willing to run statewide in 2014 for a four-year term as auditor.
"I've made it clear to all the candidates that I'm not looking for an interim auditor," Pence said.
The governor would not list the four candidates he's spoken with, though he acknowledged one is state Rep. Tom Saunders, R-Lewisville, who announced his intent to run for auditor just hours before Pence tapped Berry for state party chairman.
Pence said he has not spoken with Republican State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who reportedly has considered a 2014 run for auditor as term limits bar him from seeking a third term as treasurer.
Berry, a Fort Wayne native, served two terms as state treasurer prior to his 2006 election as auditor.