Delaware Auditor unhappy about staff cuts

Following a very brief appearance before the Joint Finance Committee, Delaware State Auditor is calling higher pay for workers in his office.


Some budget hearings, like Wednesday’s Department of Education appearance before the Joint Finance Committee, can last hours. But for Auditor Tom Wagner, his appearance in front of the JFC lasted just minutes. He used his time before the budget committee to make a plea for better pay for entry level workers in his office. 

He says the starting salary for an auditor in his office is $32,500. But Wagner told the committee that outside of state government, new college grads in the profession can make $50,000 to $70,000 right out of school. He claims the Delaware Auditor’s office has the second highest turnover rate in the nation.

Following Wagner’s brief budget presetation, JFC Co-chair State Rep. Melanie George Smith told the Wilmington News Journal, “I really strongly believe that across the board, with our state agencies, we’re all doing a lot with less.”

Wagner took offense to that statement, insisting that his office has been singled out for cuts. “No other state office historically has taken such a drastic hit in staffing levels,” Wagner said in a statement issued Thursday. Wagner says he’s trimmed his office’s staff from 57 full-time workers in 1989 to 42 staffers through attrition. “My staffing was further cut down to an all-time low of 25 by the General Assembly in 2008.”

He’s urging the leaders of JFC to approve a recommendation from the director of the state’s Office of Management and Budget to increase the office’s pay scale. 

He says as the state’s revenue has grown to more than $7.5 billion in revenue in 2013, “There is plenty of risk and opportunity for fraud, waste and abuse.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal