Rob Kane before the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee
Rob Kane before the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee

The General Assembly voted Wednesday to approve the appointment of former Sen. Rob Kane of Watertown as the Republican auditor of public accounts, a legislative patronage post that oversees a staff of more than 100 professional auditors.

The House approved the appointment on a voice vote, while the Senate approval came on a 32-1 vote, with Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly, in opposition.

Flexer said issues raised before Kane’s confirmation left her questioning whether he was the right choice to oversee a legislative unit that monitors the performance and spending of state agencies.

At his confirmation hearing, Kane faced questions about his personal finances and his repeated failure to make a $20 annual filing with the secretary of the state’s office regarding his small business, RJK Mobile Communications. Kane called those failings embarrassing, but not disqualifying. A divorced father of two, Kane also had failed to pay $4,862 in tuition and other expenses he was to share equally with his ex-wife under their divorce settlement.

Connecticut has a Democratic and Republican auditor of public accounts, who jointly oversee a legislative agency that is a check and balance on the executive and legislative branches. Other than the bipartisan rule regarding the two auditors, the statutes are relatively silent on any minimum qualifications the auditors must possess.

Kane succeeds former House Minority Leader Robert Ward, who was appointed in 2010 at the same time as the Democratic auditor, former Rep. John C. Geragosian. Ward retired in December.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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