State Auditor

Elaine Howle Retiring After 21 Years as State Auditor

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State Auditor Elaine Howle announced October 25 that she is retiring at the end of the year, marking the end of 21 years as head of the nonpartisan office responsible for reviewing state and local government agencies and programs.

The announcement was made during an oversight hearing on California’s unemployment insurance system, where Assembly Member Rudy Salas confirmed the news.

Howle began her career with the California State Auditor’s Office 37 years ago, advancing through leadership roles throughout her tenure. In 2000, Governor Gray Davis appointed her to lead the office, and she made history as the first woman to occupy the position. She was reappointed by Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, and is now completing her fifth four-year term, making her the longest-serving state auditor in California history.

Howle was named Public Official of the Year in 2012 by Governing Magazine, was among 2014’s “15 Most Influential Professionals in Government Auditing,” and won the William R. Snodgrass Distinguished Leadership Award in 2016.

Howle is a certified public accountant and certified government financial manager who holds a bachelor’s degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree in business administration from California State University at Sacramento.

Under the Government Code, the auditor is chosen by the governor “without reference to party affiliation and solely on the ground of fitness to perform the duties of the office,” from a slate of three candidates nominated by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. The auditor must have “a combination of education and experience in auditing and management necessary to perform the duties of the office.”

(CalTax: The taxpayers of California are indebted to Elaine Howle for her years of public service and her commitment to unbiased, nonpartisan reporting on California’s government entities. Honest auditing is critical to honest government, and Howle has consistently rooted out waste, fraud, and abuse of tax dollars while making concrete recommendations for better efficiency and accountability. We wish her the best in her retirement and any future endeavors.)