AP NEWS

County auditor tapped for state

January 2, 2017 GMT

Allen County Auditor Tera Klutz was appointed as the next state auditor at an 11 a.m. Fort Wayne news conference today.

Gov.-elect Eric Holcomb tapped Klutz to fill the vacancy caused by State Auditor Suzanne Crouch being elected lieutenant governor, according to several sources close to the announcement.

Klutz will be sworn in along with other statewide officials – including Holcomb himself – Jan. 9 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Today’s news conference was held at Allen County Republican Party headquarters on Main Street.

The state auditor pays the state’s employees; funnels tax dollars to counties, cities, towns and schools; maintains official accounting records for billions of state dollars; and keeps current on the state’s bills.

Crouch’s current salary as state auditor is $78,154, according to the state transparency portal. In 2015, Klutz made $82,663 as Allen County auditor.

Klutz was first elected Allen County Auditor in 2010 after serving as chief deputy for seven years. She was re-elected in 2014. Her departure leaves a vacancy in the county post, which will be filled by a caucus of local precinct officials.

Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters applauded Klutz as the perfect pick for the state position.

“I think the governor-elect can make no better choice than her,” he said.

Peters said she helped shepherd in public employee retirement changes that saved the county significantly and has been a leader in the state association of county auditors – often visiting the Statehouse to testify on bills.

“She’s always creative and innovative,” he said. “I don’t see any reason for that to end at the state level.”

Peters said it’s a great career move for Klutz, who could go to the private sector “but her heart is in public service.”

Klutz will be Indiana’s fourth state auditor since 2013. That is when Allen County native Tim Berry left the office to run the state Republican Party. His replacement, Dwayne Sawyer, then resigned abruptly three months later.

That led to Crouch’s January 2014 appointment by Gov. Mike Pence. She was elected to a new four-year term later that year.

Darren Vogt worked closely with Klutz when he was president of the Allen County Council and echoed Peters’ thoughts.

“She was a joy to work with,” Vogt said, calling her hardworking and very smart. “Her leadership skills are amazing. She has the ability to work with everyone from state legislators to township trustees.”

He said she has a knack for laying out all the facts to make sure everyone understands sometimes-complex tax policy to make the best decisions.

Klutz is a certified public accountant and earned her bachelor’s degree from IPFW. She was a senior accountant for PricewaterhouseCoopers for several years before joining the auditor’s staff as chief deputy in 2003.

She is married to attorney Zachary Klutz, a former Republican member of the Allen County Election Board who now serves on the Indiana Election Commission. He is a partner and corporate attorney with Barrett & McNagny in Fort Wayne.

nkelly@jg.net

dgong@jg.net