Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/111

This page needs to be proofread.


FINANCIAL HISTORY OF OREGON 103 have been laid through practices, shrewd and legal of course, but amounting essentially to a swindling of the public and impositions upon their charges. As recent as 1905 the secre- tary of state was still pleading for the legal requirement of the payment of all proceeds from sale of public property into the state treasury for the credit of the general fund and for annual itemized reports covering the same. The secretary of state has from the beginning had the re- sponsibility of auditing claims against the state. His has been the duty of seeing that no payment is made except it is pro- vided for by law. However, the requirement of itemized vouch- ers through which this result could be insured was not in all cases enforced until 1895. Requisitions of governing boards were honored without vouchers. H. R. Kincaid as secretary of state, instituted this reform, holding that without the item- ized voucher there was not strict compliance with a fair con- struction of the law. The best service as auditor and some of the other duties required of the Oregon secretary of state do not harmonize. As a member of various commissions and boards having charge of the principal state institutions, excepting the penitentiary, he is required to enter into large contracts for the construc- tion of public buildings and the purchase of supplies for pub- lic institutions, while as auditor he audits the claims against the state for contracts and supplies he has a voice in author- izing. He is charged with the sole duty of purchasing and authorizing all supplies for the several departments, capitol building and grounds, purchasing legislative supplies, and is also custodian of the capitol building and grounds. As au- ditor, it is his duty to audit and issue warrants in payment of claims incurred by his sole authority. If the function of auditing claims against the state is to be the distinctive re- sponsibility of the secretary of state he should be relieved of his duties as a member of the various administrative boards and of his stewardship of the capitol and the activities within its walls and on the capitol grounds. Supervising care of the