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Scott Fitzpatrick sworn in as state auditor, vows to monitor school spending

Nicole Galloway, former Missouri State Auditor, speaks with Scott Fitzpatrick before his swearing-in ceremony on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. Galloway was the last Democrat to hold a statewide-elected position.


Sarah Kellogg
/
St. Louis Public Radio
Nicole Galloway, former Missouri State Auditor, speaks with Scott Fitzpatrick before his swearing-in ceremony on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. Galloway was the last Democrat to hold a statewide-elected position.

Former Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick is now the state’s auditor, which means Republicans hold all of Missouri’s statewide elected offices.

Fitzpatrick was sworn in Monday. He captured almost 60% of the vote in the November election.

He replaces Democrat Nicole Galloway, who announced in 2021 that she would not seek reelection.

“I have often said government works for the people, not the other way around,” Fitzpatrick said after the swearing-in ceremony. “And I'm looking forward to working with the legislature, Gov. Parson, and most importantly, our constituents of our great state to hold government accountable and punish those who would waste and steal our resources.”

Fitzpatrick outlined two of his goals as auditor. The first involves looking at the spending of federal COVID dollars.

He said that the pandemic response has resulted in a significant increase in government spending and that billions of dollars has been allocated to state and local governments.

“This explosion of spending at all levels of government has made it easier and more likely than ever before for taxpayer money to be wasted, misappropriated and even stolen,” Fitzpatrick said.

Another area Fitzpatrick wants to turn his attention to is auditing Missouri’s schools. He said on average, one school district is audited by the office each year.

“School audits will be a top priority of mine in the coming years because parents and taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent by their schools, and that their kids are being provided an appropriate education,” Fitzpatrick said.

Scott Fitzpatrick is sworn in as the next state auditor by Jack Goodman, Chief Judge of Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.
Sarah Kellogg
/
St. Louis Public Radio
Scott Fitzpatrick is sworn in as the next state auditor by Jack Goodman, Chief Judge of Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.

Currently, all Missouri school districts, including charter schools, are required to be audited annually and submit the reports to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Fitzpatrick said that doesn’t mean his office shouldn’t also look at schools.

Fitzpatrick was appointed by Parson as treasurer in 2018 and served from 2019 through 2022. He replaced now-U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt, who was tapped by Parson to serve as attorney general in 2018.

In his tenure, Parson has appointed two attorneys general, two treasurers and a lieutenant governor. Fitzpatrick is the state’s 39th auditor.

Before serving as treasurer, Fitzpatrick was a member of the Missouri House of Representatives. First elected in 2012, he eventually became chair of the House Budget Committee.

Copyright 2023 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Sarah Kellogg