Politics & Government

State Auditor Troy Kelley leaves little trace online

State Auditor Troy Kelley spends less time on the Internet at work than some people spend trying to remember their passwords.

Documents released Wednesday by the Auditor’s Office provide another sign of just how little electronic trail Kelley left in public life before being indicted April 15. His Web browser history shows just 10 days of activity over 16 months.

Total time on the Web: 27 minutes, 41 seconds.

The first-term auditor plans to take an indefinite leave of absence starting Monday, rejecting calls from Republicans and fellow Democrats to resign. He is giving up his $116,950 annual salary and delegating his authority to a three-decade veteran of the agency, Jan Jutte.

Federal prosecutors say Kelley kept stolen money, evaded taxes and obstructed court inquiries. None of the charges involves misconduct in elective office. Kelley maintains his innocence and vows to return to his job after clearing his name.

Jutte told reporters Wednesday that Kelley has made a mark on the agency.

“He has a very well-organized, very well-functioning office,” Jutte said. “He has put together a great executive team who work together flawlessly.”

His secret, it appears, is not micromanaging — or perhaps not managing at all — the team’s day-to-day work. What direction he does provide leaves little public trace:

account for about one in every three weekdays during his first 22 months in office.

Staff have said they don’t know how often he’s in his office in Olympia, but his scant Web history indicates he rarely works from his desk there.

“I just know that he didn’t use his office computer very much. I assume he used one at home,” Auditor’s Office spokesman Thomas Shapley said.

Kelley doesn’t have a state-provided computer or other devices at his home in Tacoma.

Jutte said while state employees are supposed to turn over text messages involving public business to their agency, they are under no obligation to turn over records of calls made and received from personal devices.

Two cases moving through the courts involving Pierce County elected officials could provide more clarity about when the public has access to communication records from the privately owned devices of public officials.

In recent weeks, under the cloud of a federal investigation and then indictment, Kelley has kept, if anything, an even lower profile.

The last time Jutte saw him, she said, was at a DuPont restaurant last week where they talked over teriyaki and Jutte brought Kelley his mail.

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