The Office of the West Virginia 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 Treasurer’s Office is one of six constitutionally mandated offices in West Virginia. While the West Virginia Constitution establishes the Office, the functions of the Office are outlined in various sections of West Virginia Code.
The State Treasurer is the chief financial officer for the state and is responsible for overseeing the cash management of West Virginia’s government. These duties include receiving and disbursing state 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 taxes, wine taxes and the fire and casualty insurance premium tax to local government subdivisions; issuing quarterly and annual reports of all state debt; providing safekeeping services; and handling various other banking and accounting functions that deal with state finances.
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. Treasurer Perdue serves as chairman of both the Board of Treasury Investments and the West Virginia Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program Board of Trustees. Other board memberships include: Agricultural Land Protection Authorities Board of Trustees; Board of Public Works; Board of the School Fund; Consolidated Public Retirement Board; Council of Finance and Administration; Enterprise Resource Planning Board; Higher Education Student Financial Aid Advisory Board; Hospital Finance Authority; Housing Development Fund Board of Directors; Investment Management Board; the Lending and Credit Rate Board; the Municipal Bond Commission; the Purchasing Card Advisory Committee; the Special Reclamation Fund Advisory Council; and the Tobacco Settlement Finance Authority.
The Treasurer's Vault
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 Treasurer’s Seal
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. Combined with the five additional stars found on the seal, these fifty-five stars represent the counties of our state.
The shield of three stars and 13 stripes, with its superimposed dollar sign, 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. 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."