Assemblyman Elliot Anderson, D-Las Vegas, has filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would remove both the controller and the treasurer from the list of elected constitutional officers in Nevada.
He said the positions would, instead, be put under the governor’s finance office or a cabinet level department created by the Legislature.
“You don’t need to elect someone to do accounts payable and accounts receivable,” he said.
Anderson said he’s open to suggestion on how the offices would operate and what the structure should be.
He said he believes his idea would make government both smaller and more efficient by centralizing the functions of the treasurer and controller under the department that currently handles the rest of the state’s financial functions.
But Treasurer Dan Schwartz said it’s “a horrible idea.” He said he seriously doubts Anderson could get voters to approve the proposed constitutional amendment that would be necessary even if lawmakers agreed to put it on the ballot.
“Ultimately, I think the voters understand there are people with qualifications and people without qualifications,” he said. “The voters are going to say why should we let someone else do this, why should we vote for this.”
Controller Ron Knecht said he wouldn’t directly take a position on the idea but questioned how the change would save any money or make government more efficient.
“Both jobs would still have to be done,” he said, adding the state would probably have to pay the people replacing the Controller and Treasurer more than he and Schwartz get as elected officials.
“And you’ve got two highly qualified professionals in the jobs now so what problem are you trying to cure,” he said.
Finally, Knecht said he doesn’t believe centralizing even more power under the governor is a good thing.