INDIANAPOLIS | Gov. Mike Pence will appoint a new state auditor Thursday to replace Tim Berry, who finally resigned Tuesday after more than three weeks of pulling double-duty as chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.
The Republican governor has quietly interviewed more than a half-dozen candidates for the auditor post since July 3, when Pence endorsed Berry for the party leader vacancy. Berry was elected GOP chairman July 22.
On Tuesday, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody criticized Pence's delayed selection of a new auditor and questioned whether Berry was using state resources to benefit the Republican Party.
Pence did not respond to that accusation but has said all along he planned to take his time in finding an auditor who can serve the remainder of Berry's term through 2014, be nominated by Republican Party next summer and win a full term in the Nov 4, 2014 general election.
That person won't be LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo. She told Pence following a July 15 interview with the governor that there's much more she wants to accomplish as mayor and withdrew from consideration for auditor.
Berry's resignation ends his 15-year tenure as a statewide elected official. The Fort Wayne native served two terms as state treasurer before first winning election as state auditor in 2006. He was easily re-elected in 2010.
His biggest accomplishment as Indiana's chief financial officer was the implementation of a new electronic system for tracking and paying the state's bills.
Prior to 2009, state agencies had to record money owed on 3.5-inch floppy disks and physically bring those disks to the auditor so he could cut a check.
Berry also worked with the Office of Management and Budget under former Gov. Mitch Daniels to create the Indiana Transparency Portal, an online listing of state and local government revenue and spending data, state contracts and state employee salaries.
"We thank Tim for his service to the people of Indiana," Pence said. "He put taxpayers first, implemented new financial accounting software and worked closely with local governments in his role as auditor, and we are grateful for his contributions."