Eugene DePasquale became the state's auditor general Tuesday afternoon during a swearing-in ceremony at the Pennsylvania State Museum in Harrisburg.
In a county where Republicans have a stronghold in nearly every district, the 41-year-old Democrat has become the first Yorker to hold an elected statewide office since Gov. George Leader left office in 1959.
He'll oversee a 550-person agency, serving as the state's fiscal watchdog and conducting audits to make sure the state's money is spent efficiently and effectively.
DePasquale is the state's 51st auditor general, replacing Jack Wagner, a two-term Democrat who could not run again because of term limits.
State Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd administered DePasquale's oath of office. His wife, Tracey DePasquale, presented the certificate of election, and their children, 13-year-old Ben and 9-year-old Sarah, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Other speakers at the event included Sen. Rob Teplitz, D-Dauphin and York Counties, former Philadelphia Controller Jonathan Saidel, York County Controller Robb Green, and Democratic House Leader Frank Dermody.
DePasquale said Monday he plans to "hit the ground running" in the new position, and a letter to the state's Department of Environmental Protection already had been drafted so he could fulfill a campaign pledge. DePasquale had promised to order a performance audit of the DEP to make sure water protection programs are effective in areas of the state where companies are drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale Formation.
He declined to discuss the contents of the "engagement letter," saying he wanted to give the department time to receive the letter.
Duties: DePasquale will be in charge of auditing the state's executive branch and state funding, with no jurisdiction over the state Legislature.
His list of priorities includes finding wasteful and inefficient spending for a state under "incredible budgetary strain," he said.
He plans to audit job-creation programs and economic development programs. For example, DePasquale wants to make sure money spent on tax incentive programs for businesses are actually benefiting the state's economy, he said.
DePasquale said he also wants to ensure seniors get all of the Pennsylvania Lottery money they're due, especially if plans for privatization come to fruition.
District seat: DePasquale's resignation from York City's 95th District in the state House, in which he had served since 2007, became effective upon his swearing-in as auditor general.
The lone Democratic candidate to succeed DePasquale in the the heavily Democratic district is Kevin Schreiber, York City's director of economic and community development. DePasquale's resignation will trigger a special election, which has not yet been scheduled.
The county's Republican Party plans to speak with a candidate over next two weeks, but that person's name has not been released.
DePasquale has endorsed Schreiber, calling him a man with "tremendous energy" who's "bright and certainly knows the community" he would represent.
The new auditor general dismissed rumors that he was planning a run for governor in 2014, announcing Monday he will hold the auditing office for at least one full four-year term.
The Pittsburgh native said Monday he plans to continue living in York, but people shouldn't be alarmed if they see his house go up for sale.
He said he and his wife are looking to reduce the size of their lawn now that children don't play in it as much as they did when they were younger. The new home will also be in York County, he said.
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