DES MOINES – Gov. Terry Branstad appointed Mary Mosiman as Iowa's state auditor Monday, describing her as a “talented, experienced public servant who will keep a very close watch over the tax dollars.”
Mosiman, the state deputy of elections since 2010, succeeds David Vaudt, who resigned earlier this month after 10 years in the position.
Mosiman, a Republican who was elected to three terms as the Story County auditor before joining the Secretary of State’s Office in 2010, is the first female state auditor in Iowa.
“I can’t wait to get started,” she said when Branstad made the announcement at his weekly news conference. “I look forward every day to working the best that I can to not only validate the governor’s decision, but also to earn the same type of confidence from the people of Iowa.”
She acknowledged that Vaudt “is going to be a tough act to follow, but I like a challenge. I’m going to look forward to continuing with the best practices and procedures that he has established.”
The 51-year-old Mosiman started work Monday, participating in the weekly Executive Council meeting of nonfederal, statewide elected officials. Her annual salary will be $103,000.
In looking for Vaudt’s successor, Branstad said he wanted a CPA who would adhere to the sound budgeting principles followed by Vaudt.
“In Mary, we found that and more,” he said. “Mary is one of the hardest public officials that I have had the pleasure to work with and to know and I look forward to working with her in the future.”
Mosiman said she plans to be an “independent voice” even if means criticizing governor and legislature.
“I assume that there will be differences of opinion, and they will just have to be addressed because it doesn’t go along the lines of politics when it comes to the financial matters of the state,” she said.
Branstad discussed that with Mosiman before making his choice.
“None of us like to get bad news, but I would much rather get it early when we can still make some changes and prevent making a mistake,” he said. “One thing that I would just ask the auditor to do is that if she sees that the General Assembly or the governor or combined that we’re making a bad move, let’s know about it in advance and try to correct it as quickly as we can.”
The auditor’s office conducts financial audits of state government offices and of cities, counties and towns.
One area of concern Mosiman mentioned is the long-term effect of federal sequestration.
Sen. Tom Courtney, D-Burlington, shares that concern. He’s been trying to get the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to investigate GOP Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s use of federal funds to pay a Division of Criminal Investigation agent to look for voter fraud. Courtney calls that a misuse of federal Help America Vote Act funds.
He asked Mosiman to pick up the investigation because the inspector general’s office told him that because of budget cuts, it did not have the resources to investigate his allegations.
Mosiman has had her own election-related issue.
In 2004, she was accused of illegally interfering with early voting at Iowa State University by dispersing would-be voters still in line when the polls were scheduled to close. She was ordered by Democratic Secretary of State Chet Culver to have another day of early voting to compensate those would-be voters for her actions. Mosiman refused, saying she did not have enough time to post a notice of voting.
In seeking an auditor, Branstad said wanted someone with ambitions to run for auditor in 2014. Mosiman, who served 10 years as Story County auditor, said she will run for the Republican nomination for auditor in 2014.
Schultz called Mosiman an “excellent choice.”
“Auditor Vaudt certainly leaves big shoes to fill, but I know that Mary Mosiman is the right person to meet and exceed the high standards he has established during his decade of service,” Schultz said.
Mosiman and her husband, Daniel, live in Ames. They have four daughters ages 23, 21, 18 and 17. She is a member of the Iowa Society of CPAs, is a past president of the Nevada Rotary and active member of the Gilbert Education Foundation.
Before becoming county auditor, she owned and operated a daycare business for five years. She is a graduate of Iowa State University.
Vaudt, 59, a three-term Republican, left office to become chairman of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board based in Norwalk, Conn.
The board is the source of generally accepted accounting principles used by local and state governments. Vaudt will be its fourth chairman, and the Financial Accounting Foundation appointed him to a seven-year term. The board's work includes making rules on issues such as how governments should record pension liability.
Vaudt is a CPA and worked at KPMG for 25 years before he sought state office. He graduated from high school in LuVerne in north-central Iowa and Upper Iowa University in Fayette.