Richard Mourdock resigns as state treasurer

2nd state official to resign in two weeks

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock announced Friday that he would resign from his post, effective at the end of the business day.

Mourdock, who has served as treasurer since 2007, said he decided to leave his post early "to pursue other professional interests." Mourdock's term would have expired at the end of 2014.

According to Eric Berman, a reporter at RTV6's news-gathering partner WIBC, Mourdock will avoid a 1.75 point rate cut in the retirement annuity of his state pension by leaving his post before new Pence Administration-mandated changes take effect Oct. 1.

On Tuesday, State Rep. David Niezgoski (D-South Bend) told members of the Interim Study Committee on Pension Management Oversight that the rate decrease could cause many state employees to seek early retirement.

“What we are beginning to see is that the changes demanded by the Pence Administration are starting to compel many, many fine people into early retirement, simply to achieve the benefits they have worked so many years to earn,” Niezgodski said.

Mourdock is the second high-ranking state employee to resign in as many weeks. On Aug. 22, State Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess announced that he would resign his post after little more than a year-and-a-half on the job.

VanNess was appointed by Gov. Mike Pence on Jan. 14, 2013. In his resignation announcement, he said he was leaving the position "strictly for personal reasons."

Mourdock previously made headlines for a controversial quote about rape during his unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2012 . He also raised eyebrows this June when he compared U.S. economic woes to Nazi Germany .

Kelly Mitchell, the Republican candidate running to replace Mourdock as treasurer, said she was "shocked and surprised" by his resignation.

Mourdock's departure will also leave a hole in the Indiana State Board of Finance, the supervisory board of state fiscal affairs comprised of three elected officials: the governor, state auditor and state treasurer.

The board has seen turmoil recently after former State Auditor Tim Berry left his position to run the Indiana Republican Party. Pence's choice to replace Berry, former Brownsburg Town Councilman Dwayne Sawyer, served only four months before resigning , citing only "family and personal concerns." Pence then chose former state Rep. Suzanne Crouch to fill the auditor's role .

Mike Claytor, the Democrat running for state auditor this fall, criticized Mourdock's resignation, saying it will leave the State Board of Finance as Pence and "two handpicked officials."

"The State Board of Finance was designed to be three separately elected officials, not two people appointed by the governor to serve along with the governor," Claytor said. "There is absolutely no independence on that board right now when they vote on how to spend your hard-earned taxpayer dollars."

Indiana Finance Authority CFO and COO Daniel Huge will serve as interim treasurer until Pence makes an official appointment to fill the rest of Mourdock's term, which runs through Dec. 31, 2014.

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