BISMARCK — Where will the money be hiding? On Thursday of this week, that may be the question that has to be answered if some legislators are successful in their bid to remove the office of the state treasurer.
The state treasurer is a constitutional office. And here in North Dakota, it’s an elected position. It gives us some extra transparency and responsibility with those state dollars. They’re the broker, so to speak, in between the receiving of dollars and disbursing of dollars back out to other political subdivisions.
That office is responsible for investing those dollars. They have the ability to put those investments out on bids, where banks can compete and give an offer of an interest rate on a cd or an investment that’s competitive, rather than to just take the rate that may be available at the state Bank of North Dakota.
One of the other answers is to put the agency out on bids to the private sector. Albeit we’re a very free enterprise organization, when it comes to handling the transparency and the accountability of a government dollar, sometimes we need that independent within the state to separate the legislative branch from the executive branch, and not drive costs up.
In all the floors that are contained within that capitol building, the treasurer’s department is one of the most efficient and transparent departments there are, with only a one percent growth in the last ten years. I challenge any other government agency to meet those kind of growth numbers. It’s only seven-and-a-half working in the treasurer’s department, along side of our elected treasurer, who’s accountable to the people. And if the people are not happy with the performance that the state treasurer has given, they have an opportunity, every four years, to remove that person and put a new one in.
Where on the flip side, if we remove the office of state treasurer from the constitutional office that it is, and turn it over to either the executive branch control or legislative branch control, we lose that independence of direct accountability to the people of North Dakota, which we enjoy now.
For questions or comments, please contact Dawn Smith-Pfeifer.
— Daryl Lies, president of North Dakota Farm Bureau
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