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State Auditor pays visit to Wabash

State Auditor Suzanne Crouch (left) chats with County Auditor Linda Conrad during a visit to Wabash in the afternoon of Wednesday, June 24. Photo by Joseph Slacian

By Joseph Slacian

State Auditor Suzanne Crouch stopped by the Wabash County Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon to pay a visit to Wabash County Auditor Linda Conrad and her staff.

The visit, Crouch said, is part of her plan to visit auditors in all 92 Indiana counties.

During her visit, she and Conrad took time to discuss various procedures in the local office.

Crouch also took a moment to stress transparency in state government, noting that all transactions of state and county funds are available online.

“As auditor of the state, I’m responsible for maintaining Indiana’s transparency portals,” she told The Paper of Wabash County. “On that, we have all salaries of state employees, all the expenditures …

“And we have links to local government spending through Gateway. Gateway is the system of the Department of Local Government Finance where the counties have to submit their financial information. So, the public can actually go to the transparency portals and see how their state tax dollars are being spent, and to see how their local dollars are being spent.”

The challenge, Crouch said, is getting people to be aware of the service. The information, she continued, is available at www.in.gov/itp.

“We’ve had about 163,000 hits to date,” Crouch said. “And while that seems like a lot, we have six million Hoosiers …”

Conrad added that the public has better access to spending by local school districts and libraries and so forth through the Gateway system.

“They’ve got better access to what they need, too,” she said.
Crouch said, “Every dollar spent by the government has a name and a face attached to it. I think that’s something that we should never, ever forget.”

A good auditor, she continued, ensures that the tax dollars are spent properly.

“You are involved with all the claims,” Crouch told Conrad. “And when things aren’t coming in the way they should, you’re the last line of defense for the taxpayer.

“I know how important the auditor’s office is. It is the most important office in the county. It’s the hub. It’s where everything comes -- you pay the bills, pay the employees.

“I always say if other government offices would shut down for two weeks, there’d be problems, no doubt about it. But if the auditor’s office shut down for two weeks, no one gets paid. No bills get paid. Government comes to a screeching halt.

“The problem is that most people don’t realize how important this office is because the public has little action with this office except for filing exemptions. So, if the auditor is doing a good job, no one really knows.”

Gov. Mike Pence appointed crouch to the state auditor’s post on Jan. 2, 2014. She represented Vanderburgh and Warrick counties for seven years in the Indiana House of Representatives, and served as vice chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Posted on 2015 Jul 07