Republican state Senator Vince Illuzzi and Democrat/Progressive Doug Hoffer are seeking to replace current State Auditor Tom Salmon. Salmon decided earlier this year not to seek re-election.
The candidates have different views on how to approach the job they seek.
For nearly two decades, Doug Hoffer has been a self-employed policy analyst. And for some of that time he worked under contract to the State Auditor. Hoffer thinks transparency and accountability are the most important issues facing the office.
"I really believe that, while they’re not knocking on the door asking questions about the internal operations of the office, people have a right to know how much is being spent and for what," Hoffer said. "So I will put the auditor’s budget on the website immediately."
Vince Illuzzi, who has served in the state senate for 32 years, representing Essex and Orleans Counties, is seeking state-wide office for the first time.
Explained the senator, "My top priority at the present time would be to a systemic problem that I’ve seen in state government and that is the tens of millions of dollars that have been spent for IT purchases that have gone nowhere."
He points to a recent $5 million purchase by the judiciary and $17 million spent by the Department of Motor Vehicles as computer systems that have cost the state dearly.
The candidates also have differing viewpoints on whether to take an activist role in advising the legislature on crafting the state budget.
Citing his experience in the general assembly, Illuzzi believes he could provide input for the legislature when creating the budget.
"I would be on tap and be available to provide information and expertise as developed by the office’s professional staff and, of course, segue that with my experience in trying to provide assistance to the general assembly," he noted.
Hoffer believes the auditor should only provide this input if invited by the legislature. "If the auditor’s office has not conducted an analysis of a certain problem, then the auditor shouldn’t speak to that issue. The current auditor has done that a number of times and I think that weakens the office in my view. So I would not be activist in that regard. Having said that, I would certainly be activist in pursuing the recommendations that come from our reports."
In addition to Illuzzi and Hoffer, Jerry Levy of the Liberty Union Party is also running for auditor.