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Auditor-elect John Dougall shakes up office administrative staff

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11 2012 7:16 p.m. MST

Utah State auditor-elect John Dougall talks to supporters at the Hilton in Salt Lake City Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Newly elected state Auditor John Dougall is shaking up the office's administrative staff.

Dougall, a former Republican legislator from Highland, asked the 43 members of the current staff to submit resignation letters by Tuesday morning. The resignations would be effective Jan. 6.

"As I work to build my team, I will look to balance individuals with fresh, new ideas with others who have the wisdom that comes with experience in the trenches," he wrote in requesting the resignations. "These changes are a necessary adjustment, of course, placing more emphasis in areas and strategy that I believe are central to my vision."

Dougall spent the past two weeks interviewing workers. He also brought in external auditors to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the office.

After that process, Dougall said he received letters from 88 percent of the staff who wanted to be considered for reappointment. Of that group, he said, he decided to keep 76 percent. Some will be reconsidered with new applicants for open jobs, while others chose to retire or seek work elsewhere.

Requesting resignation letters is customary for new public officeholders.

"For most folks, I think they understand the nature of the process," Dougall said.

Dougall ousted longtime Auditor Auston Johnson in a GOP primary election in June. He then handily defeated Democratic candidate Mark Sage in November.

Dougall said he wanted to give staffers as much time as he could to decide what they wanted to do.

"Part of the nature is you have only a short period to go through this. You try and get through it as quickly as you can," he said. "From my perspective, letting it hang out there for six weeks would have been a disservice."

During his campaign, Dougall stressed what he sees as the need for the state auditor to be a more aggressive government watchdog, conducting performance and financial audits of state agencies. Tuesday's changes in the office reflect that notion.

"You start in-house, internally with your own shop before you start going throughout the rest of state and local government," Dougall said.

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy

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