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California Controller

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California Controller
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012-2013 FY Budget:  $250,554,000
Term limits:  2 terms
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  California Constitution, Article 5, Section 11
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Betty Yee.jpg
Name:  Betty Yee
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 2015
Compensation:  $139,189
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other California Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorControllerSuperintendent of Public InstructionAgriculture SecretaryInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources SecretaryIndustrial Relations DirectorPublic Utilities Commission
The California State Controller is an elected state executive office established by the California Constitution. The controller acts as the state's accountant and bookkeeper, tracking and controlling disbursement of state funds from the treasury. Additionally, the controller administers the Uniform State Payroll System, audits various state and local government programs, and disburses state aid to lower-level governments.

The controller serves on 76 boards and one commission including the Board of Equalization and the Franchise Tax Board. The areas of government audited and reviewed by the controller include school districts, the California State Lottery, oil and gas lease royalties, state agencies, and a multitude of local governments. The controller, like all California constitutional officers, may be elected to a maximum of two four-year terms.

Current officeholder

The current controller is Betty Yee (D). She was first elected to the office on November 4, 2014. She replaced John Chiang (D), who was term-limited and won election to the state treasurer's office.


The office of controller is established by the California Constitution.[1]

California Constitution, Article 5, Section 11

The Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, and Treasurer shall be elected at the same time and places and for the same term as the Governor.


Although there are no office-specific requirements for the office, each candidate for controller must:[2]

  • Be a registered voter
  • Be registered with their party for at least three months
    • Not have been registered with a different political party in the last 12 months
  • Not have been previously term-limited out of the office


Controllers are elected on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in federal midterm election years, e.g. 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030.[3] Like all constitutional state officers, the controller assumes office on the first Monday in the new year following the election.[1]

California Constitution, Article 5, Section 11

The Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, and Treasurer shall be elected at the same time and places and for the same term as the Governor. No Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Controller, or Treasurer may serve in the same office for more than 2 terms.


See also: California down ballot state executive elections, 2014
California Controller, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBetty Yee 54% 3,810,304
     Republican Ashley Swearengin 46% 3,249,668
Total Votes 7,059,972
Election Results via California Secretary of State.

Term limits

Controllers, like all state constitutional officers, face an absolute limit of two terms in office.[1]


The vacancy procedure for the office of controller is determined by the state constitution. When a vacancy occurs, the governor nominates a replacement to serve the remainder of the term under the next election. The appointee must be confirmed by a majority of both house of the California legislature. Until the replacement is approved, the former officeholder's chief deputy exercises the office.[4]

California Constitution, Article 5, Section 5b

Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, or Attorney General, or on the State Board of Equalization, the Governor shall nominate a person to fill the vacancy who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority of the membership of the Senate and a majority of the membership of the Assembly and who shall hold office for the balance of the unexpired term. In the event the nominee is neither confirmed nor refused confirmation by both the Senate and the Assembly within 90 days of the submission of the nomination, the nominee shall take office as if he or she had been confirmed by a majority of the Senate and Assembly; provided, that if such 90-day period ends during a recess of the Legislature, the period shall be extended until the sixth day following the day on which the Legislature reconvenes.


The controller's primary responsibility is to track and control the disbursement of the state of California's money. Besides producing the warrants under which money is released from the state treasury, the controller's office audits personnel and payroll transactions, administers the Uniform State Payroll System for state employees, and "determine[s] legality and accuracy of every claim against the State."[5] Before allowing the state's money to be dispersed, the controller's office "determines the legality and accuracy of all claims against the State through the performance of prepayment audits." Beyond his financial responsibilities, the controller's duties contain a public relations element; he is responsible for informing "the public of the State's financial condition," and "financial transactions of city, county and district governments."[5]

The controller's office has several other miscellaneous fiscal duties, including a number related to tax administration; it administers the state's unclaimed property program, the Property Tax Postponement Program and collects the state's estate, inheritance and gift taxes. It also audits the use of gasoline and property taxes.

Click here to view larger-scale image of the California controller's office Organizational Chart as of January 2007.


The controller oversees six divisions including:

  • Accounting and Reporting
  • Administration & Disbursements
  • Audits
  • Information Systems
  • Personnel/Payroll
  • Unclaimed Property

State budget

See also: California state budget and finances

The budget for the California State Controller's Office in the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year was $250,554,000.[6]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

The salaries of California's elected executives are determined by the California Citizens Compensation Commission, a seven-member board appointed by the governor to six-year terms. The commission was established after voters passed Proposition 112, an amendment to the California Constitution, in 1990. Commissioners meet prior to June 30 of each year to determine salary recommendations with changes effective the following December. From 2003 to 2013, the commission voted to increase salaries or benefits five times and decreased or made no changes to salaries eight times.[7]


In 2014, the controller received a salary of $139,189, according to the Council of State Governments.[8]


In 2013, the controller received a salary of $139,189. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.[9]


In 2010, the controller received compensation in the amount of $130,490.[10]

Historical officeholders

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "California Controller."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

California Controller - Google News Feed

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Contact Information

Sacramento Office
P.O. Box 942850
Sacramento, CA 94250-5872
(916) 445-2636 Office
(916) 322-4404 FAX

Los Angeles Office
777 South Figueroa Street,
Suite 4800
Los Angeles, California 90017
(213) 833-6010 Office
(213) 833-6011 FAX

See also

External links