Inslee says state will withhold pay from embattled state auditor; Kelley says he doesn't want it

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee has directed state officials to withhold pay from embattled State Auditor Troy Kelley, who is starting a leave of absence on Friday following his indictment earlier this month.

Inslee spokesman David Postman said Tuesday that a letter informing him of the move was delivered Monday afternoon to Kelley, who has resisted numerous calls to resign following his indictment by a federal grand jury earlier this month. Instead, Kelley has said he will take a temporary leave starting on Friday.

His current salary is $116,950 a year.

Last week, Inslee's office said it believed the state has the authority to withhold pay from Kelley, based on legal advice received from the state attorney general's office.

Tuesday afternoon, Kelly issued the following statement:

“Beginning at 1 p.m. on May 4, I will begin a leave of absence from my position as auditor of the State of Washington. During my leave of absence I will not accept pay or any benefits through the duration of my leave.

“I have spent the last few days working with my team on a plan to ensure a smooth transition of duties, which I’ve communicated to Governor Inslee.  I will delegate responsibility for audit authority, contracting, personnel issues and other matters to Director Jan Jutte.

“During my leave of absence, I will not represent the Washington State Auditor’s Office in any capacity until I can put my legal matters to rest, at which time I intend to resume my duties.

“I believe it is important for everyone to remember that under our system, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, in front of a jury of one’s peers. I also believe it is important to note that none of the allegations leveled against me call into question my work as an elected official.

“My decision to take this leave of absence affords those who call for my ouster with the confidence that a larger group of talented executives will oversee the work of the Auditor’s office, while allowing me to dedicate my time and efforts to my legal defense.”