State Auditor Tom L. Allen will resign his office July 1 to become chairman of the nation's government auditing standards board.

Allen, one of four elected state officers - the others being governor, attorney general and treasurer - was first elected in 1984 and won re-election in 1988 and 1992.GOP Gov. Mike Leavitt will pick Allen's successor from three names submitted to him by the state Republican Party's Central Committee. Any number of GOP certified public accountants or others interested in Allen's job may put their names forward. Immediate speculation centered on Allen's chief deputy, Austin Johnson.

Allen was former state auditor Val Oveson's chief deputy when Oveson in 1984 decided to become former Gov. Norm Bangerter's lieutenant governor. Allen had never held public office before winning his 1984 race and has never sought higher office.

Leavitt praised Allen on Thursday for his professionalism and years of service.

"If I were standing before you today to announce that a Utah attorney had been appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, you would know what that meant. Well, the Government Accounting Standards Board is the supreme court of government accounting and Tom is being named its chairman. It is an honor for him and an honor for Utah - which is recognized as one of the best-run states in the nation," Leavitt told a morning press conference.

Allen said he doesn't feel he's breaking a promise with Utah voters by leaving in midterm. Utahns elected him to bring excellence in government financial auditing to the state; and he's leaving now to try to take that excellence to the nation as a whole.

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"There are 83,000 governments in the United States," said Allen. And GASB sets the standards for financial management for all those governments, he said.

Actually, Allen has been working part time for the GASB for six months. Since July 1 he's spent one week a month traveling to the board's Norwalk, Conn., home to advise the board.

"This is a five-year appointment with the possibility of a five-year renewal," said Allen.

Born in Green River and raised there and in Blanding, Allen said he and his family plan on returning to Utah after he completes his national service.

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