OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma state auditor’s office will be relocated from the state Capitol as part of a $245 million renovation project to the facility.

Auditor Gary Jones said he was shocked when he learned Monday that his office would have to move at the end of next year’s legislative session. Jones said he feels the decision is retaliation for his criticism of spending by the House, Senate and Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

“I think obviously it’s political in the fact they don’t feel like we’re important enough to have space in the Capitol,” Jones said. “As to whether it’s vindictive, I can’t help but think that it is. Maybe we’ve been a little too vocal talking about how much money the House and Senate is spending, along with others.”

But Capitol project manager Trait Thompson said the decision to move the auditor’s office was not retaliatory. Thompson told The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/2bCFy2x ) that the renovations call for an expanded visitors’ entry space, which will have multiple security checkpoints designated to reduce long lines that now form when large groups visit the Capitol.

Thompson said the Capitol library is being eliminated and that other state entities are affected by the project, too.

“The secretary of state significantly decreased his presence in this building,” Thompson said. “OMES, itself, has decreased the number of employees in the building. There are other entities that will be changing and moving around as well. … It’s never an easy process.”

Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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