State auditor mounts re-election bid

2013-08-19T23:45:00Z 2013-08-20T00:18:44Z State auditor mounts re-election bidBy SUSAN ANDERSON Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
August 19, 2013 11:45 pm  • 

CASPER, Wyo. -- State Auditor Cynthia Cloud announced Monday -- one year to the day in advance of the August 2014 Republican primary -- that she is running for re-election.

Cloud said during a Casper news conference that she was announcing early because "a statewide campaign is a long process."

"I just wanted to get this done," she continued. "We are about to hit a busy time" before the Legislature's budget session in 2014.

Cloud said she spent $150,000 in her first campaign for auditor in 2010, but declined to say what her budget will be for 2014. She defeated Bruce Brown in a close 2010 Republican primary and ran unopposed in the general election.

Cloud spoke in front of a banner that read, “Tightening Wyoming’s Belt.” She said she cut the budget of the auditor’s office by 10 percent. And Cloud said that in negotiating the state’s information technology contract with TGI Inc., she had saved Wyoming $1 million. Some of those savings, she said, came from demanding a five-year contract instead of the 10 years the company wanted. Cloud noted that she negotiated better terms for the state by ensuring that “we don’t pay termination costs.”

She said she “has begun the process to become more transparent in the (state) website” without increasing costs. Cloud cited Wyoming’s “F” grade in the report, “Following the Money 2012,” on state spending transparency by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Four of five states received the failing grade because, among other reasons, they don’t provide what’s considered “checkbook-level” information about government spending. Wyoming ranks slightly above the lowest four states because the website does allow a search, but only by the name of the vendor.

“We can’t have accountability without transparency," Cloud said. "The public needs to have it in a format that is accessible.” She said she would like to make the website more “user-interactive.”

“All we have is checks and purchase cards on the website. It should be more visual,” Cloud said. “While my office has seen many successes, there is still more to do to continue picking up speed on the projects I started.”

The auditor said she is working on legislation for a different system for uniform financial billing. She also said she has reached out to local governments to offer training in proper auditing procedures.

Cloud said one of the major accomplishments of her first term so far was working with the Office of State Lands to “create a comprehensive inventory of all state-owned lands for the first time.”

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