The office of controller may be one of the least understood constitutional offices in the state of Nevada.

The controller is basically the chief fiscal officer, responsible for handling the states accounting system, paying bills and collecting debts efficiently and effectively, while providing accurate financial data to various levels of government, to lawmakers and to the citizens.

This year’s race for the seat is between Republican Ron Knecht, an economist who is a former assemblyman and currently a member of the Board of Regents, and Democrat Andrew Martin, an assemblyman and CPA. Both promise to make the operations of the office as transparent as possible.

The current controller, Kim Wallin, is term limited and running for treasurer.

Knecht says the controller’s 16-year-old computer system is obsolete, but believes he could pay for a new system by reducing personnel. He says a new system would allow him to post the state’s checkbook online.

As a regent, Knecht has been involved in rolling out an even bigger computer system that connects all the state’s university campuses and covering everything from student records to accounting and human resources.

Knecht brings a unique and broad range of education and professional experience as qualifications for the controller office. He has a liberal arts bachelor’s degree, a math major, a master’s degree in engineering economics that includes public finance and policy, plus a law degree. He has 43 years in management in economics and financial and technical analysis in both private and public service. On the regents, he has been active in audits, budget and finance, management and investments.

“I’m a numbers, policy and operations nerd,” Knecht says proudly.

“I have a reliable, dependable, long-term record as a limited government conservative, and frankly, if there is anyplace you want a limited government conservative with prudence, it’s the controller,” he said. He was one of the 15 conservative lawmakers in 2003 that helped stopped the largest tax hike in state history — the gross receipts tax.

While the controller sits on the state transportation committee, Knecht attests that he would favor roads and highway spending over mass transit subsidies.

Andrew Martin was rated one of the worst members of the 2013 Assembly by the Las Vegas newspaper’s anonymous poll of legislators, lobbyists and reporters.

We endorse the principled and conservative candidacy of Ron Knecht. —TM