LINCOLN — State Sen. Amanda McGill, in announcing a campaign for state auditor Thursday, said she knows what it’s like to be a victim of embezzlement.
McGill, a 33-year-old Democrat from Lincoln, said her name was allegedly used on checks to steal thousands of dollars from YWCA Lincoln. The YWCA had a stamp of McGill’s signature created when she previously directed the agency.
Denise Scholl-Serrett, the director who followed McGill, has since resigned and has been charged with embezzlement. She has pleaded no contest in the case and is awaiting sentencing.
“I learned the importance of asking questions when things don’t quite seem right,” McGill said Thursday. “As state auditor, I will work to protect our state every day from misuse and criminal activity.”
McGill, who announced her campaign at the State Capitol, is the second candidate to seek the $85,000-a-year post.
Omaha Sen. Pete Pirsch, a Republican, launched a run for the auditor’s job in October. Term limits prevent both senators from seeking a third term in the Legislature.
State Auditor Mike Foley will step down because he is seeking the Republican nomination for governor. It will mark the first time in 16 years that an incumbent won’t seek re-election to the office.
McGill, a native of Omaha, was elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2006. She is chairwoman of the Urban Affairs Committee. She said she has confronted waste and fraud in state government during her tenure.
She touted her work on reforms of foster care and addressing the safe haven crisis in 2008. The crisis occurred after the Legislature passed a law allowing parents to leave children of any age at hospitals without prosecution. It had been intended to save infants but instead was used by families to drop off dozens of troubled youngsters, mostly in their teens and near-teens.
McGill said she would follow the lead of Foley “and continue inspecting the Department of Health and Human Services piece by piece.” But she said she also would work with state agencies to make sure they are using the best accounting practices to avoid waste and fraud.
“Agencies and political subdivisions should see the auditor as someone who can help them do their jobs better and not as someone who is out to get them,” she said.
Although candidates are not required to file financial reports until the end of the month, it appears Pirsch has a sizable financial advantage over McGill. Based on reports filed last year, Pirsch has nearly $117,000 on hand while McGill reported about $4,800.
Although the contributions were raised for their legislative races, the money can be transferred to other campaigns, including for auditor.
After her announcement, McGill left for a four-day, 15-city tour of the state.