Scranton Times Tribune
Auditing is not typically the stuff of inspirational rhetoric, but John Maher has a passion for it that makes him an ideal choice for state auditor general.
Mr. Maher, a Republican state representative from Allegheny County, and Eugene DePasquale, a Democratic state representative from York County, both are qualified to be auditor general. But Mr. Maher proposes stewardship and innovation that make him the superior candidate.
He is a certified public accountant. He would be the first auditor to serve as auditor general.
Mr. Maher, as a state representative, was the author of the state Open Records Law, which has revolutionized access to public information. He was the primary sponsor of the lobbying disclosure law that ended Pennsylvania’s status as the only state without one. And he pushed a law that reduced the number of wage tax collectors statewide from more than 500 to just 69, saving millions of dollars.
Mr. Maher has been a CPA for more than 30 years. Prior to joining the Legislature, he worked as an executive for national and global accounting firms, and he founded a major firm that specialized in public-sector auditing.
The auditor general doesn’t do the actual auditing. But Mr. Maher wants to make audits more meaningful by determining more than whether state funds have been spent as intended. Auditor General Jack Wagner and his predecessor, Sen. Bob Casey, did some of that through performance audits. But Mr. Maher, for example, would press to modernize antiquated school audits to emphasize performance and efficiency.
Mr. DePasquale, a lawyer, also is a good candidate. Like Mr. Maher, he has an independent streak. He was the first state lawmaker to post his expenses online, for example, and he has been an ardent advocate of expanding the scope of the Open Records Law.
Mr. Maher, however, seems born to the office, and is the better candidate in this campaign.