As expected, legislative leadership named Rep. John Geragosian, D-New Britain, and Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Robert Ward, a former Republican lawmaker, as the new Auditors of Public Accounts.

The plum, highly sought positions still will have to be approved by the entire legislature, but it’s unlikely there will be much opposition to their nominations. Geragosian and Ward will replace retiring auditors Kevin Johnston and Robert Jaekle, who have been in charge of the office for close to 17 years.

“The auditor’s position requires individuals of high integrity and a thorough understanding of financial matters,” said House Speaker Chris Donovan. “I can’t think of a person who better exhibits those characteristics than John Geragosian, who served the General Assembly with distinction for many years, most recently as chair of the Appropriations Committee.”

“Bob Ward has been the consummate public servant who over the years gained the trust and confidence on both sides of the aisle. Bob has always commanded the utmost respect from his colleagues,” House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero said. “He will prove to be a great choice for this critical position.”

Ward was the longest serving Republican leader in the House. He was first elected in 1985.

Geragosian has been a lawmaker for the past 16 years, he took over as co-chairman of the Appropriations Committee three years ago when Denise Merrill left the post to become majority leader.

As auditors, Geragosian and Ward will be responsible for a staff of more than 100 employees. They will also be responsible for auditing state agencies and dealing with a backlog of whistleblower complaints.

The office dates back to colonial times and can be traced back to a charter granted in 1662 to the Colony of Connecticut, by King Charles the Second of England. The office operated under the Office of Comptroller until 1937 when it obtained independent status.