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Letter to the editor: Forum editorial board wrong on choice for state auditor

The Forum editorial board says my opponent's low-key management style is effective and appropriate. I strongly disagree. The state auditor, as an elected official, should be able to speak up, help resolve audit issues and defend his staff without being called a "partisan showboat."

I have the audit leadership skills to make a significant difference in the support and management of the office. I am an independent, certified auditor with 23 years of audit experience at MDU Resources. I have the expertise to do the proper risk analysis and work with the Legislature to ensure the right audits are conducted. My leadership in the energy industry and audit profession will be beneficial as North Dakota addresses increasing energy revenues and the state surplus.

The audit staff does an excellent job presenting reports to the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee. I would not change that practice. However, the state auditor should be prepared to address the committee. The incumbent spoke, for the first time in eight years, at the last meeting. When asked to respond to criticism of his office, all he could say was he had not talked with the head of Workforce Safety and Insurance about audit issues. I would have worked to help resolve those issues. At the very least, I would have defended my audit staff and the audit results.

The Forum said, "Most North Dakotans don't know what the state auditor does." Had Bob Peterson agreed to attend community forums, the citizens of North Dakota would know more about this office. The League of Women Voters and cable access TV offered us several opportunities to do a public forum in Bismarck. All statewide candidates, except my opponent, agreed to participate. He also did not attend forums in Fargo, Minto, Williston and Jamestown.

Voters have a clear choice this year. Elect an incumbent who is not involved, or elect someone with true audit-leadership skills. Elect someone who will actually be engaged in discussions with the legislative committees and the public. Elect someone who will provide the support an audit staff deserves. I believe we elect our officials to speak up and provide transparent leadership. If the citizens of this great state honor me with their vote, I will be that kind of leader.

Daryl Splichal

Mandan, N.D.

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