North Carolina State Government

State Auditor

 Department Website:
www.ncauditor.net


Beth A. Wood, CPA

In 1782, the General Assembly appointed Richard Caswell as the first Comptroller of the State of North Carolina. His duties were to direct the mode of stating, checking, and controlling all public accounts and to keep these accounts for inspection by the General Assembly. In addition to the Comptroller, ten boards of auditors were to be located in various parts of the State.

This system remained in place until 1862 when the General Assembly established the Office of Auditor of Public Accounts. The 1868 Constitution provided that the State Auditor should be elected by the people and was to "superintend the fiscal affairs of the State; examine and settle accounts of persons indebted to the State; liquidate claims by persons against the State; and to draw warrants on the State Treasurer for moneys to be paid out of the treasury." The State Auditor also became part of the Council of State.

In 1872, the system of county taxes on property, polls, and income was established with the local Sheriff acting as the Tax Collector. The State Auditor was to prepare the forms for listing taxes and provide them to each Sheriff. He was to report to the State Treasurer the amounts due to each fund and if any of the Sheriffs defaulted on their accounts. The Revenue Act of 1923 relieved the Auditor of his local tax duties.

In 1921, the General Assembly strengthened the power of the State Auditor by giving the office the power to examine, audit, and adjust accounts. However, it also made the Auditor responsible for disbursements and the overall accounting system. This dual role presented the Auditor with substantial issues of potential conflict and certainly independence, in carrying out the assigned duties. It was 1955 before the General Assembly separated the duties by transferring the purely accounting functions to a new position in the executive branch. This change resulted in the State Auditor being in a position of independence to review and comment on the operational and financial affairs of North Carolina State Government.

Article V, Chapter 147 of the North Carolina General Statutes gives the State Auditor broad powers to examine all books, records, files, papers, documents, and financial affairs of every state agency. The Auditor also has the power to summon people to produce records and to answer questions under oath.

The Office of the Auditor acts as a watchdog for the state government and provides citizens, legislators, and government officials with professional and independent evaluations of North Carolina's financial records and performance reports.

Past State Auditors

Name

Year(s)

Notes/Comments

Beth A. Wood, CPA

2009 - present
Elected on November 4, 2008, took office on January 1, 2009.

Leslie W. Merritt, Jr.

2005 - 2008
-

Ralph Campbell, Jr.

1993 - 2005
-

Edward Renfrow

1981 - 1993
-

Henry L. Bridges

1947 - 1981
Appointed by Governor Robert G. Cherry to replace G.R. Pou. Elected to a full term in 1948.

George Ross Pou

1937 - 1947
Died on February 9, 1947.

Baxter Durham

1921 - 1937
-

William P. Wood

1911 - 1921
Elected in the General Election of 1910 to complete B.F. Dixon Sr.'s term. Elected to a full term in 1912.

Benjamin F. Dixon, Jr.

1910 - 1911
Appointed by Governor William W. Kitchin on September 30, 1910.

Benjamin F. Dixon

1901 - 1910
Died on September 26, 1910.

Hal W. Ayer

1897 - 1901
-

Robert M. Furman

1893 - 1897
-

George W. Sandlin

1889 - 1893
-

William Paul Roberts

1881 - 1889
-

Samuel L. Love

1877 - 1881
-

John Reilly

1873 - 1877
-

Henderson Adams

1868 - 1873
Elected in April of 1868.

Auditor of Public Accounts

Name

Year(s)

Notes/Comments

Richard H. Battle

1864 - 1865
Appointed by Governor Zebulon B. Vance. Then elected by the General Assembly to a regular term and served until the office was abolished in 1865.

Samuel F. Phillips

1862 - 1864
Resigned effective July 10, 1864


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