South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

After tenure as treasurer, Fitzpatrick faces Gregory in run for state auditor

Scott Fitzpatrick

This August’s primary will see Republican state Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick face off against former 96th District Rep. David Gregory, R-Sunset Hills, in the race for Missouri auditor. Election Day is Aug. 2. 

Fitzpatrick has been a part of Missouri politics since 2012 when he first served as representative in the House representing the 158th District, which included his hometown of Shell Knob. He held the position until he was appointed to treasurer in 2019 by Gov. Mike Parson — he has served as treasurer since, after defeating a challenge in 2020 from former 94th House District representative and Lindbergh school board member Vicky Lorenz Englund. 

Fitzpatrick said his reason for running for auditor is the same as his reason for originally becoming a politician. 

“It was really the experience I had starting and trying to build a business that got me paying attention to politics. I was dealing with a lot of government agencies at all different levels … it was really frustrating, particularly in that time frame when … I was just trying to survive through the recession and a big obstacle to succeeding at that was dealing with the government,” Fitzpatrick said. “It got me realizing that it’s important who is in charge of the government.”

His firsthand experience with government caused him to gain an interest in holding it accountable for taxpayers. 

“I look at auditor as being the taxpayer watchdog to keep accountability … for the state government,” he said. 

During his time as representative, Fitzpatrick served on the budget committee for six years — he said he wanted to know more about the budget than anyone else in the legislature. In those six years he served as chairman and vice chairman of the committee.

As treasurer, Fitzpatrick said he has taken advantage of the opportunity to run an agency by cutting redundant positions and restructuring unclaimed property advertising.

“I discovered we were paying (some local newspapers) to put the full list of all the names for every county in all the papers instead of just putting the list for each county to those counties,” Fitzpatrick said. “It went far beyond our statutory requirement and seemed to be wasteful.”

He said the change reduced the cost of that service from about $1 million to $600,000.

Fitzpatrick said the auditor position will be more important than ever as state and local budgets grow. He said during his time as representative the state budget increased from $24 billion to $28 billion, and in the last three years it has increased to $49 billion. He attributed the increase to federal programs like the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan Act funds.

“A lot of that money is going to be spent on a tight deadline and when you put billions of dollars into the budget and you are forced to spend it in a condensed time frame, that’s a recipe in my mind for disaster,” Fitzpatrick said. “There has never been a time in our history … where the opportunity for taxpayer money to be wasted or fraud or outright abuse of the funds to occur to take place.”

On top of the influx of federal funds, Fitzpatrick said a main priority for him is auditing school districts. He said since the auditor gained the power to audit schools in 2008, only 19 of the 516 districts have been audited. He said the auditor should look into under performing school districts and “look at what they’re doing that is resulting in bad outcomes.”

Fitzpatrick said his relevant experience sets him apart from his opponent Gregory. In a past interview with The Call, Gregory said he is the only auditor in the race.

“I think that’s kind of an overstatement on his part. When you look at our records in the legislature, what sets me apart is I’ve been the chair of the Budget Committee, been the treasurer and I’ve got a record of things I’ve accomplished in those positions,” Fitzpatrick said. “When you look at our time in office, the things I have accomplished are much more relevant to the job of auditor.”

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