Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Inslee Will Withhold Auditor Kelley's Pay, Reiterates Call To Resign

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has informed State Auditor Troy Kelley will not be paid while he is on indefinite leave.

Indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley will not be paid while he is on indefinite leave, which Kelley said he'll start Monday May 4.

In a sternly-worded letter to Kelley, Governor Jay Inslee said he’s directed his state agencies to withhold Kelley’s compensation -- nearly $117,000 a year -- as long as he’s on leave.

Inslee also called it “extremely troubling” that Kelley had not yet communicated a contingency plan for how the Auditor’s office will operate in his absence. Inslee is demanding that Kelley provide in writing a plan that makes clear who will be in charge and when he intends to return to his office to “resume his duties.”

Kelley, a first-term Democrat, pleaded not guilty to a 10-count federal grand jury indictment relating to his past business practices.

Inslee used the letter to once again ask Kelley to resign his office. “I urge you to put the interests of the people of the state of Washington above your own,” the governor wrote.

Kelley is required by law to respond to the governor’s letter.

Late Tuesday, Kelley issued a statement that said he will not accept pay or benefits during his leave of absence. He also said he will delegate management of the Washington State Auditor's Office to Jan Jutte, his director of operations.

Jutte has been with the auditor's office for more than 30 years and said in a statement the "vital work" of the state auditor "continues, and will continue, uninterrupted."

In his statement, Kelley said: "During my leave of absence, I will not represent the ... Auditor's Office in any capacity until I can put my legal matters to rest, at which time I intend to resume my duties."

Kelley went on to ask "everyone to remember" that he is presumed innocent until proven guilty and notes that the allegations against him don't pertain to his work as an elected official.