Gov. Susana Martinez announced Wayne Johnson will take over as State Auditor through the 2018 election on Friday.
Martinez made the appointment a day after Tim Keller resigned from the position. Keller will be sworn in as the mayor of Albuquerque Friday after easily winning in a runoff election last month.
Johnson, a Republican, is a Bernalillo County Commissioner and told the Albuquerque Journal he expects to resign from that position at some point. Johnson ran for mayor of Albuquerque as well, but did not receive enough votes to make the runoff election.
Johnson told the paper he is considering running for a full-term as auditor.
“It is very clear from Wayne Johnson’s background that he will put the interests of New Mexicans first as State Auditor,” Martinez said. “As a county commissioner, he has championed transparency, ethics, and accountability. I am very confident that he will bring those same standards to the auditor’s office.”
Johnson called the appointment an “honor” and thanked Martinez.
“The people of New Mexico deserve the best,” he said. “I am more than ready to take on this challenge. Making sure we are holding the necessary agencies and people accountable is critical to maintaining public trust. I will not let my fellow New Mexicans down.”
The State Auditor oversees the mandatory state audits of public entities. Every public entity, from the largest cabinet-level departments to the smallest local water authorities, must produce an audit that analyzes their finances annually.
This is the second time Martinez filled a vacancy in a statewide position. Dianna Duran resigned as Secretary of State shortly before pleading guilty to multiple crimes involving misusing campaign funds. Martinez then appointed Albuquerque City Councilor Brad Winter to head the department through the next election.
Winter did not seek election in 2016, and Maggie Toulouse Oliver won in an unusual presidential-year election for a statewide position.
Update: Updated this piece with more information from Johnson on his future plans.