Dwayne Sawyer speaks after being named as the Auditor of State for Indiana by Gov. Mike Pence during a news conference at the Statehouse Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Indianapolis. Sawyer will complete former Auditor Tim Berrys term, which runs through 2014. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Updated: August 15, 2013 1:40PM
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Mike Pence announced Thursday that the president of the Brownsburg Town Council will serve as the new state auditor.
Pence praised Dwayne Sawyer’s experience in local government and Republican Party politics at a Statehouse news conference.
Sawyer replaces Tim Berry, who was elected auditor in 2006 and again in 2010. Pence picked Berry to run the Indiana Republican Party earlier this summer and Berry has served in both roles until this week. He stepped down as auditor Tuesday to run the party full time.
“Dwayne’s professional background, experience in public service, strong character, and involvement with the Republican Party make him the best choice to serve as auditor for the people of Indiana,” Pence said.
Sawyer was picked from a long list of candidates, including a state representative, a top aide in the state pension system and others, to fill the 17 months left in Berry’s term.
“This is truly a very monumental opportunity to serve the entire Hoosier state, and all my fellow Hoosiers,” Sawyer said.
Pence’s pick effectively blocks Treasurer Richard Mourdock from making the same transition Berry did seven years ago, from the treasurer’s office to the auditor’s. Mourdock and Berry were both term-limited from seeking re-election to their respective offices next fall.
Berry’s double duty over the last month led Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody to file a public records request with the auditor’s office Thursday, saying there were concerns about how tax dollars were being spent.
Zody said he’s worried about new evidence of workers campaigning on state time. He cited a campaign tweet sent from Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s official state Twitter account and an email sent last year by former schools Superintendent Tony Bennett directing top staffers to do research against his opponent.
“Hoosiers need to be able to trust that their elected officials are putting public service first and engaging in politics on their own time,” Zody said in a statement. “The integrity of our government depends on it.”
Pence said Thursday he was confident Berry put his state work first while serving as party chairman on a “volunteer” basis
The governor’s announcement of Sawyer as auditor completes a bit of shuffling triggered earlier this summer, when former party Chairman Eric Holcomb announced he was leaving, along with a number of other top party officials who had worked closely with former Gov. Mitch Daniels. Holcomb took a job running U.S. Sen. Dan Coats’ office.
Sawyer is to be sworn in Monday. Pence had appointed Sawyer this year to serve on the Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males. Duties of the auditor’s office include accounting for state revenue and spending and making tax revenue distributions to local governments.