Jan Jutte, the director of operations for the State Auditor’s office, was due to retire on Thursday after a 30-year career at the auditor’s office. Instead, she’ll be taking the reins as the top official at the auditor’s office while Troy Kelley is on an unpaid leave of absence to face federal charges of tax evasion.
“This has been a distraction for us, but the vital work goes on in our office,” said Jutte, who will take over delegation of authority from Kelley at 1 p.m. on Monday.
Kelley released a statement on Wednesday saying he is delegating audit authority, contracting, personnel issues and other official matters to Jutte. He will not receive pay or benefits during his leave.
“During my leave of absence, I will not represent the Washington State 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 wrote in the statement.
Jutte said she intends to disable Kelley’s email account while he is on leave, saying it is standard practice for employees on leave.
Kelley was indicted by a federal grand jury on ten counts earlier this month and announced he was taking a leave of absence. He has not responded to calls from Gov. Jay Inslee and others to resign.
Jutte remains confident the auditor’s office can continue to perform its duties, noting that the office has completed 350 audit reports since the auditor’s office was subpoenaed on March 6.
“We have decades of policies that have been put in place, we follow national standards, we have quality assurance,” she said. “All of that stuff is routine and happens without the auditor himself interacting with that process.”
Kelley informed Jutte by phone on Monday that he was selecting her to take over authority. The last time she said she saw him in person was at a DuPont restaurant on April 23 to discuss office matters.
Jutte said she had planned to retire this week, but decided three months ago to stay on for an additional year and half to finish projects. “I love this office, I really do,” she said. “It’s a great office that does great work.”
She said she would consider an appointment if Kelley resigns, but would not run for elected office.
TVW taped the 30-minute press conference with Jutte — watch it online here.