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The New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Kaschak elected New Jersey State Auditor

By David Wildstein, February 23 2021 2:34 pm

David Kaschak was named today as the New Jersey State Auditor, the only state government position picked by a joint session of the state legislature.

A former deputy state auditor and Office of Legislative services staffer, Kaschak will serve a five-year term. He was recommended by the bi-partisan Legislative Services Commission, along with Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.

He replaced Stephen Eells, whose term expired last year and has since retired.

“David has been working in the Office of Legislative Services for over ten years, most recently serving as the Assistant State Auditor since 2016,” Sweeney and Coughlin said. “While it is not always a highly visible position, the role and responsibilities of the state auditor are critically important to government operations.

Sweeney and Coughlin said that Kaschak would be “relied upon to provide unbiased, timely, and relevant information to the Legislature and the citizens of New Jersey that is used to improve the effectiveness and accountability of public entities.

“We are confident in David’s abilities and we look forward to seeing all he’s able to accomplish during his tenure in this position,” the legislative leaders said in a statement.

A joint legislative session elected Eels in February 2010, one month after his scheduled vote was postponed. Republican Assembly members complained that then-Speaker Sheila Oliver didn’t advise them the vote was taking place.

Eells, a state government veteran, succeeded the non-political Richard Fair, a career state employee who was elected to a five-year term in 1989 and then spent fourteen years on holdover status.

Other New Jersey State Auditors: James Dolan, a state government veteran who served from 1981 to 1989; George Harper (R-Layton), a former Senate President who held the post from 1964 to 1981; and former Senate President Frank Durand (R-Sea Girt), who was State Auditor from 1938 to 1964. Durand succeeded Walter Darby, who was named state Commissioner of Municipal Accounts, the predecessor of the Commissioner of Community Affairs.

Harper was the son of Harry Harper, widely known as “Hackensack Harry,” a former New York Yankees pitcher (he started the sixth game of the 1921 World Series for the Yankees against the New York Giants) and later entered politics. He was elected Bergen County Sheriff in 1927, lost a GOP State Senate primary in 1931, served as a state Civil Service Commissioner and state Labor Commissioner, lost a 1948 GOP primary for U.S. Senate, and lost a 1950 special election for Congress.

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