A new North Dakota state auditor shakes things up, and controversy follows

BISMARCK — North Dakotans had grown accustomed to electing a state auditor named Bob Peterson. After all, the father and son pored over the state’s books in successive tenures that lasted more than 40 years.

But that consistency was shattered with the election of Josh Gallion in 2016. Now, the new auditor is at the center of a dispute between two branches of state government over the powers granted to his office.

A Republican, Gallion’s approach has ruffled some feathers within his own party and attracted speculation that he has a higher office in mind. Some have grumbled about a new practice of issuing news releases trumpeting state agencies’ shortcomings.