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Office History 

Historical Information 


Constitutional OfficeWest Virginia CodeTreasury Functions
Financial BoardsState Treasurers Of West VirginiaThe Treasurer's Vault
The Seal Of The State Treasurer

The Office of State Treasurer was established at the Constitutional Convention held in Wheeling in 1863 after the western counties of Virginia split to become West Virginia. The First Constitution of West Virginia, Article V, Section 7, Executive Department, stated: "A Secretary of the State, a Treasurer, and an Auditor shall be elected at the same time, and for the same term, as the Governor. Their duties shall be prescribed by law. The Secretary of the State shall receive thirteen hundred, the Treasurer fourteen hundred, and the Auditor fifteen hundred dollars, per annum.

Campbell Tarr of Brooke County was appointed and elected the first treasurer in 1863 and 1864 with no opposition.

The office of Treasurer has changed over the ensuing years because of additional demands of state law, but the section of the State Constitution that authorizes the Office of Treasurer has been amended only a couple of times.

CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICE (Return to Top)

The importance of the State Treasurer's Office was easily recognized by the framers of the state Constitution when the Mountain State was established during the Civil War. The office is one of six constitutionally mandated.

Article VII, Section 1 of the state of West Virginia Constitution states: "The executive department shall consist of a governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture and attorney general, who shall be ex officio reporter of the court of appeals. Their terms of office shall be four years, and shall commence on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of January next after their election. They shall reside at the seat of government during their terms of office, keep there the public records, books and papers pertaining to their respective offices, and shall perform such duties as may be prescribed by law."

WEST VIRGINIA CODE (Return to Top)

While the Constitution establishes the State Treasurer's Office, it is the West Virginia Code that is the blueprint by which the office operates. Various sections of these code provisions include State Depositories, § 12-1-1 et seq.; Payment and Deposit of Taxes and Other Amounts Due, § 12-2-1 et seq.; Appropriations, Expenditures and Deductions, § 12-3-1 et seq.; Financial Electronic Commerce, § 12-3A-1 et seq.; Bank at School, § 12-4-15; Public Securities, § 12-5-1 et seq.; The Debt Management Act of 1991, § 12-6A-1 et seq.; Debt Capacity Advisory Division, § 12-6B-1 et seq.; Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program Act, § 18-30-1 et seq.; and Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, § 36-8-1 et seq.

TREASURY FUNCTIONS (Return to Top)

The State Treasurer is the chief financial officer for the state and is responsible for overseeing the cash management of West Virginia government. These duties include receiving and disbursing the state funds, which includes writing approximately 3.4 million checks per year and electronic fund transfers of funds; filing and retaining all paid checks and various bonds issued by the state; collecting the crime victim's compensation, law-enforcement training, regional jail authority and litter control fund fees; disbursing coal, oil and gas severance taxes, liquor tax, wine tax and the fire and casualty insurance premium tax to local government subdivisions; issuing quarterly and annual reports of all state debt and the annual Debt Capacity Report; providing safekeeping services; and handling various other banking and accounting functions that deal with state finances.

FINANCIAL BOARDS (Return to Top)

The State Treasurer is a member of the major financial decision-making boards throughout state government. These boards make decisions that affect all aspects of West Virginia's fiscal policies. The Treasurer's memberships in this area include the West Virginia College Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program Board of Trustees, Agricultural Land Protection Authorities Board of Trustees, Consolidated Public Retirement Board, Council of Finance and Administration, Hospital Finance Authority, Financial Aid Coordinating Council, Housing Development Fund Board of Directors, West Virginia Investment Management Board, Lending and Credit Rate Board, Municipal Bond Commission, Pension Liability Redemption Review Committee, PROMISE Scholarship Board, Statewide Task Force on Student Financial Aid, Board of the School Fund and Board of Public Works.

STATE TREASURERS OF WEST VIRGINIA (Return to Top)

Campbell Tarr (R-Brooke) 1863-1866 E. Leslie Long (R-McDowell) 1908-1916
Jacob H. Brister (R-Taylor) 1866-1868 W. S. Johnson(R-Fayette) 1916-1932
James A. MaCauley (R-Ohio) 1868-1870 Richard E. Talbott (D-Barbour) 1932-1950
John S. Burdette (D-Taylor) 1870-1876 William H. Ansel Jr. (D-Hampshire) 1950-1956
Sobieski Brady (D-Ohio) 1876 Orel J. Skeen (D-Jackson) 1956-1960
Thomas J. West (D-Harrison) 1876-1880 John H. Kelly (D-Kanawha) 1960-1975
Thomas O'Brien (Ohio) 1880-1884 Ronald G. Pearson(R-Marion) 1975-1976
William T. Thompson (D-Cabell) 1884-1892 Larrie Bailey (D-Marion) 1976-1984
John M. Rowan(D-Monroe) 1892-1896 A. James Manchin(D-Marion) 1984-1989
M. A. Kendall (R-Wood) 1896-1900 Thomas E. Loehr (D-Wetzel) 1989-1990
Peter Silman (R-Kanawha) 1900-1904 Larrie Bailey (D-Marion) 1990-1996
Newton Ogden (R-Pleasants) 1904-1908 John D. Perdue(D-Kanawha) 1996

THE TREASURER'S VAULT (Return to Top)

The Treasurer's main vault is an eye-catching and fascinating aspect of the building that was installed four years after the construction of the Capitol. Since the Treasurer is responsible for holding various securities and monies, officials felt an in-house vault was a necessity in the wake of that era's growing crime rate. The resulting fixture is a massive vault built with solid chromium steel and concrete, surrounded by walls 22 inches thick. It once took two contractors two and a half days to bore a small air hole through the outer wall of the vault as a safety measure. The huge, 16-ton door is controlled by three clocks which are set on a 15-hour rotation at the end of each working day and 63-hour rotation each weekend. Once the door has been closed and clocks activated, the vault cannot be opened until its clocks automatically release at the end of the rotation cycles.

Forty smaller vaults inside the main vault are assigned to individual state agencies. Each agency stores various items, most of which are stocks and bonds. In addition to the stocks and bonds protected there, the vault is also home to collections of diamonds and rare coins, stamps, and state historical documents owned by the Division of Culture and History.

Because the vault was installed in the 1930's, a period of rampant crime and bank robberies, Treasury officials installed a 12-foot solid steel and glass barrier in front of the vault. Tellers sat behind two-inch thick glass panels that rested below an iron grate charged with several thousand volts of electricity. Gun turrets were installed in the event of an armed robbery.

Today, the Treasurer's office is a sleek, modern, state-of-the-art operation. Equipped with powerful computers and sophisticated electronic money management technology, the West Virginia Treasury continues to move forward as it administers and protects the sound investment of our vast resources in the future of the Mountain State.

The Seal of the State Treasurer (Return to Top)

The Seal of the State Treasurer of West Virginia is a durable hallmark double struck into high relief with great symbolic significance. The Roman printing and the rings of the Seal indicate the strength, power, and unending unity of the people of West Virginia. The central figure is the State Capitol dome symbolizing the hopes and aspirations of a free people. The dome stands in an array of 50 stars representing the 50 States, where West Virginia, the 35th State, is the 35th Star. As these 50 stars represent the States, so then, combined with the five additional stars found on the Seal, these fifty-five stars represent the counties of our state. Note also the shield of three stars and 13 stripes with its superimposed dollar sign. This shield symbolizes the security, strength, and stability of the State Treasurer and the three stars represent the virtues of faith, hope, and charity. The 13 stripes represent the 13 original states. The shield also displays the symbol of the American dollar, our basic unit of currency. And on both sides of the Shield are oak leaves, the classical symbol of fidelity to duty. Extending from the portals of the Capitol is the sacred caption of our National Motto, "In God We Trust." Finally, there is the Bald Eagle displaying strength and courage on outstretched wings. Like the eagle, the State Treasurer meets the challenges of the office and rises above them, as did our forefathers, who gave us the historic resolution that "Mountaineers Are Always Free."