Matt Dunlap was forced to leave that role last year when he failed to earn the required certification in time.
Matt Dunlap, then secretary of state, answers questions at an event in Bangor in 2018. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

The former Maine state auditor forced to leave his role last year after failing to earn the required certification in time is back on the job after he passed the necessary exams.

Maine Senate President Troy Jackson said Monday he had appointed Matt Dunlap, a former secretary of state and state legislator from Old Town, to serve the remainder of the four-year term to which he was elected in late 2020.

“It’s clear that Matt Dunlap is the right person for the job,” said Jackson, D-Allagash. “He’s proven to be an excellent manager, was elected by the 130th Legislature and has the endorsement of the State Auditor’s Office.”

The Maine Legislature will still need to confirm Dunlap’s position when it reconvenes, under state statute.

The appointment comes after Jacob Norton, who became state auditor after Dunlap failed to gain his internal auditing certification a year ago, resigned earlier this year, according to Jackson’s office.

Dunlap opted to run for state auditor after he was termed out as secretary of state despite having no financial background and saying in late 2020 that he was “utterly unqualified for” the job. Under state law, he had nine months to get the necessary internal auditor certification after the Legislature elected him to the post.

But Dunlap was forced to vacate his post in 2021 after failing those tests. He described leaving the post as “humiliating,” in a BDN opinion piece earlier this year, but said he had later been able to pass his exams with hard work and the support of those close to him.

Dunlap, a Democrat, represented Old Town in the Maine House before being elected secretary of state in January 2005. He held the position until January 2011 before serving again from January 2013 to January 2021, during which he oversaw the introduction of ranked-choice voting in primaries and federal elections and a 2020 election season held during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state auditor’s responsibilities include auditing state financial records and ensuring Maine follows intricate requirements when using federal money.