Pizatella to seek Democrat nomination for state auditor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Saying he’s given it a lot of thought in recent months, state Administration Secretary Jason Pizatella announced on MetroNews “Talkline” Monday he’ll be a candidate for the Democrat nomination for state Auditor in 2016.

“I think the time is right,” Pizatella told MetroNews.

Jason Pizatella
Jason Pizatella

The time became much more inviting when longtime state Auditor Glen Gainer, also a Democrat, announced he would not seek reelection after this term.   Republican J.B McCuskey had announced he would see the Republican nomination even before Gainer’s decision.

“It’s an office that is responsible for one of the cornerstones of any government, that is transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility,” Pizatella said. “I think I’ve spent the last five years in public service doing exactly that.”

Prior to becoming Administration Secretary, he served as the Legislative Liaison for the Tomblin Administration.

Gainer had drawn a lot of criticism for the complicated and expensive effort to modernize the state government’s accounting software.   He drew even more heat when controversy arose over his plan to transition the state government payroll from bi-monthly to every two weeks.   Some have criticized the plan which they believe will short change some state workers while giving bonus cash to others in certain years.

“We went from 24 pays to 26 pays and in every leap year you have a 27th pay,” said Pizatella. “Instead of dividing by 26 and giving everybody that extra pay in that year when there’s 27, you simply divide by 27.”

Pizatella thought it was the most simple and most fair way to fix the controversy, but he added the bi-weekly pay scale was one he would still support.

“It provides stability, it provides transparency, and it standardizes the work week throughout all of state government,” he said.

Pizatella added he was also supportive of the new software although he admitted with any massive change such as this one there were problems that would need to be worked out.  He believed he was the man to lead the effort.

“It’s something we’re going to work with the legislature over the next 60 days to get right,” he said. “But make no mistake, West Virginia needed this system and it’s one that will cause benefits and cost savings to the taxpayers of West Virginia into the hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 10 to 20 years.”

Pizatella said he would resign his position prior to officially filing to run for the Auditor’s office.

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