OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO)- The Oklahoma state auditor's office will be relocated from the state Capitol as part of a $245 million renovation project to the facility after the upcoming legislative session.
"Since the Oklahoma State Capitol was built the Oklahoma State Auditor's office has had an office there. Sadly we were just notified that after the next legislative session we are being told to vacate and find rental space somewhere else. We are not happy! This decision was made by the House, Senate, and Office of Management Services with no input from our office," said State Auditor Gary Jones on Facebook.
Capitol project manager Trait Thompson says the decision to move the auditor's office was not retaliatory. Thompson tells The Oklahoman that the renovations call for an expanded visitors' entry space, which will have multiple security checkpoints designated to reduce long lines that now form when large groups visit the Capitol.
According the Jones, the reason for the ouster is the Secretary of State and the Office of State Finance need more office 'meeting' space. Jones claims the decision to boot the Auditor out of the Capitol was made by House and Senate leadership with the approval of the Governor. Jones says his office will have to pay $70,000 plus annually for rent.
According to Steve Fair, the Treasurer for the Stephens County Republican Party, political retaliation happens all the time but when it costs the taxpayers money and removes a vital State Agency's office from the people's house, it is wrong. He says this is precisely why Oklahoma should have the ability to recall elected officials; term limits and recall must go hand in hand.