OKLAHOMA CITY - With the renovations to the state Capitol, one agency is getting kicked to the curb. The state auditor said he’s being told to leave, and he believes it’s because he’s ruffled some feathers.
"It’s a concerted effort,” Auditor Gary Jones said. “I mean, for the last two years, they have gutted our budget in an amount that's almost obnoxious. And you know what's sad is when they are not truthful about it."
Jones has long been a very vocal critic of government waste. It’s his job. Now, he believes he’s being punished for it.
State Auditor Gary Jones broke the news yesterday afternoon in a Facebook post:
"Since the Oklahoma State Capitol was built the Oklahoma State Auditor's office has had an office there. Sadly we were just notified that after the next legislative session we are being told to vacate and find rental space somewhere else at an additional cost to taxpayers of $70,000 annually. We are not happy! This decision was made by the House, Senate, and Office of Management Services with no input from our office."Jones told the Oklahoman this:
“I think obviously it's political in the fact they don't feel like we're important enough to have space in the Capitol,” Jones said. “As to whether it's vindictive, I can't help but think that it is. Maybe we've been a little too vocal talking about how much money the House and Senate is spending, along with others. I'm talking about the raises that have been given by OMES — the huge raises whenever we were supposed to be cutting back. They've got people comparable to ours making anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 a year more than ours.”
Blogger and longtime GOP activist Steve Fair pointed out that Jones has made a lot of enemies at the Capitol with his opinionated nature and his auditing work, and that played a role in this decision. I think there's a lot of validity to that. Gary Jones is not one to go along to get along, and he's irritated a lot of powerful players in the Capitol.
However, I think I've figured out the REAL reason why the Auditor's office is the one being evicted, rather than say, the Office of Management and Enterprise Service (OMES).
Secretary of Finance and OMES Director Preston Doerflinger, following
If Gary Jones needed to go to the Capitol for a meeting, he can drive himself there. If Preston Doerflinger needed to, he'd have to walk or get a designated driver.