Most Utahns probably wouldn't recognize State Auditor Tom Allen if they passed him on the street. That's because his job, which happens to be one of only four elected state offices, tends to receive attention only when trouble arises.

That hasn't happened under Allen's leadership. Quite the opposite. Since his election in 1984, Allen's office has been recognized as one of the best-run in the nation. He was named the Outstanding Financial Executive from state and local governments by the Association of Government Accountants. He has been honored with awards from the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program and by the Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants.Allen announced this week he is leaving the state to become chairman of the nation's Government Accounting Standards Board, which is to government accounting what the Supreme Court is to the justice system. As such, he will help set standards for the financial management of 83,000 state and local governments nationwide. It is a prestigious five-year appointment for which Allen is well-qualified.

Allen is a certified public accountant who was educated at Weber State University. His work auditing Utah's state and local governments has been instrumental in the state maintaining its high bond rating.

Although his name seldom was in the news, Allen will be missed. But Utah's loss is the nation's gain.

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Gov. Mike Leavitt, who will choose Allen's successor from a list submitted by the state Republican Party's Central Committee, has a difficult job finding someone to fill his shoes.

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