Kade Minchey named Utah’s new legislative auditor general

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah lawmakers recommended Kade Minchey as the new legislative auditor general. Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.

Utah legislative leaders voted Tuesday to appoint Kade Minchey as the state’s next legislative auditor general.

Minchey, an audit manager and 17-year veteran of the Auditor General’s Office, will begin his appointment in December after the retirement this month of longtime Auditor General John Schaff.

“It’s been a very well-run office under John,” Minchey said. “And it’s great to take over when things are in good shape.”

Minchey was unanimously recommended for the position by the Legislative Audit Subcommittee out of a pool of seven candidates, according to Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy. His appointment Tuesday by the Legislative Management Committee — which is composed of majority and minority leaders of the Utah House and Senate — was similarly unanimous.

The candidates for the position included four from within the Auditor General’s Office and three external applicants, Niederhauser said.

“It was particularly difficult for us to choose a candidate because of the quality of the candidates,” Niederhauser said.

Minchey, 42, said one of his goals for the office is to move from print- and PDF-based reports and audits to a digital system that allows for interactive and expanded data and information to Utah lawmakers. The Legislative Auditor General’s Office conducts reviews of state programs at the request of legislators, often with a focus on the allocation of public resources.

“We’ve really helped the Legislature with their role [toward] and oversight of the public funds,” Minchey said. “This is a wonderful career and I would hope to be in it for many years.”

Schaff was not available for comment Tuesday. He has served as auditor general for 14 years, and within the auditor’s office for 42 years, according to Deputy Auditor General Darin Underwood.

“He’s been sometimes called the grandfather of auditing in the state,” Underwood said of Schaff. “He has audited everything there is to audit in state government.”

Underwood said that Schaff is “almost irreplaceable.” But he added that Schaff mentored many of the office’s current employees, including Underwood and Minchey, and that the team is prepared to move forward under new leadership.

Underwood described Minchey as being well-respected and having a great work ethic and impeccable character. He said he “wholeheartedly” supports Minchey’s appointment.

“We don’t intend to miss a step,” Underwood said. “We hope to build on the past.”

Tuesday’s vote, by the Legislative Management Committee, places Minchey in a provisional status as legislative auditor general. His formal appointment requires a vote of the House and Senate during the upcoming legislative session.

Minchey moved to Utah in his teens — his father, a U.S. Air Force pilot, and mother are both native Utahns — and attended junior high and high school in Cedar City. He later attended Utah State University and the University of Utah.

“I was hired here [in the Legislative Auditor General’s Office] as an intern with my graduate degree,” Minchey said, “and I’ve been here ever since.”