What's a "Comptroller":

What’s the State Comptroller Do?

by Alice Cherbonnier
     Marvin Bond, Assistant State Comptroller, is in charge of taxpayer education. After 30 years in the Comptroller’s office, he is one of the few Marylanders who can say with authority exactly what it is the State Comptroller does.
     “The job is vastly different from [the job of Comptroller in] Baltimore City,” said Mr. Bond. “At the state level, the office of Comptroller is almost unique among the states.”
     That’s because the Comptroller not only has the traditional accounting functions--dealing with bonds, etcetera--but also is the revenue commissioner and the tax collector.” In addition, the Comptroller oversees the operations of the State’s largest data processing center, and regulates alcohol, tobacco, and petroleum. In other states, these responsibilities are generally held by other people.
     The Comptroller not only serves on the powerful Board of Public Works, which approves large expenditures, but also sits on important boards, such as that of the state retirement system.
     “It’s a 1150-employee agency,” said Mr. Bond. “It’s a really big job.”
     Yet the State Constitution, unrevised on this point since 1851, does not stipulate that the Comptroller be an accountant or an attorney.

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This story was published on Sep. 2, 1998.