Former Republican Sen. Rob Kane, who was nominated to fill the a $146,000-a-year job as a state auditor by Republican legislative leaders, said he doesn’t believe a misunderstanding over his child support payments should impact his ability to scrutinize state spending.
“My personal life should not affect my ability to do the job,” Kane told the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee Thursday.
The committee voted unanimously to forward his nomination to the House and the Senate for final confirmation.
Senate Republican President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, who nominated Kane for the position, asked Kane about the Hartford Courant’s report regarding a disagreement with his ex-wife over about $4,800 in payments for his children.
Kane said a disagreement over what expenses from tuition to activity fees should be covered was based on differing interpretations of the divorce decree. He said they went to court and a mediator was able to settle the dispute. A dollar figure was reached and Kane said he hasn’t missed a payment.
“I’m not a perfect person by any stretch,” Kane said.
Fasano went on to ask Kane about his mobile communications store and why the company hadn’t paid the annual business reporting fee to the Secretary of the State’s office.
Kane said his store in Waterbury, which is called KarTele Cellular, said his partner failed to file it. He said once it was brought to his attention, the 2015 and the 2016 reports were paid.
“It was a mistake,” Kane said. “I was surprised by it because my partner who does it is great with this stuff.”
He said he was embarrassed by it, but it won’t affect his ability to do his job.
Rep. Terrie Wood, R-Darien, asked Kane how he planned to manage a staff of 100 and what qualifies him for the position.
Kane said he has one full-time employee and two part-time employees at KarTele Cellular.
“I have run a business. I’ve managed people for 23 years,” Kane told Wood.
He said he went back to school and in 2009 got his masters in business administration and is a quick learner.
“I think I’m good with people,” Kane said.
Wood said she has struggled with Kane’s nomination.
“I think people today are frustrated with people on the inside staying on the inside,” Wood said.
Kane said he thinks understanding the process and having the relationships is actually beneficial to his ability to do the job.
“I think I have good governmental knowledge, institutional knowledge and have been around this building long enough that I have relationships with these state agencies we’ll be working with,” Kane said. “Someone from the outside wouldn’t have that.”
Wood said she doesn’t believe that it was an open process and she’s concerned about that.
“We need to have a more open process. I question having two people. I question it being a political appointment,” Wood said. “I’m not sure it should be a political appointment.”
She said she doesn’t think people want people “on the inside” getting such “plum” jobs without more knowledge about the job. She said she thinks that Kane, despite his lack of management experience, will do well in the position.
“I do think he’s intelligent and capable of the job,” Wood said.
John Geragosian, a former New Britain lawmaker, is currently the Auditor of Public Accounts. He was nominated by the Democratic Party and has served in the position since 2011. Robert Ward, a former Republican lawmaker, retired this summer and created a vacancy on the Republican side. There are always two Auditors of Public Accounts — one from each party.
There will be a special election in February for Kane’s state senate seat.