According to a press release, Governor Mark Gordon announced the appointment of Justin Chavez as the interim director of the Wyoming Department of Audit.

Chavez has worked in the Department of Audit since 2002, most recently serving as administrator for the public funds department, one of four, along with banking, excise tax, and mineral audits, that make up the Department of Audit.

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Chavez also worked in the department as a school finance audit manager, supervising auditor, and principal auditor.

He earned his bachelors and master's degrees from the University of Wyoming.

Chavez said bringing more people on and keeping them in the Department has been an issue, which has been caused by a few factors.

"For our department, our biggest issue is recruitment and retention. We're losing people at a pretty good clip, a bit difficult to recruit, and that's probably one of our most pressing issues. I think travel has something to do with that, we have to travel for our jobs, not super conducive to being done remotely. I think compensation has something to do with it. We're having people that are leaving for more money, sometimes that's to another state agency, sometimes that's to the private sector."

Chavez replaces Fred Rife, who has served as interim director for the past year and who will return to his position as administrator of the Department’s administrative division.

Rife replaced Jeff Vogel, who had retired as a director of the Department in July 2020.

Michael Pearlman, communications director for the governor's office, said Rife voluntarily stepped down from his position due to personal reasons.

Chavez said he is unsure how long he will be in the position, which requires the state senate to appoint a permanent director.

The Department of Audit is responsible for the regulation of financial institutions, including auditing public agencies and local governments.

Chavez’s appointment is effective immediately.

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