Student's Corner

Duties of Wyoming Officials

NOTE: This page is intended for our fourth grade audience to assist them with their Wyoming history projects. The material provided here is not intended for use as introductory remarks of the elected officials. For introductory remarks, please utilize the links (provided in each section below) to the biographies of each of our elected officials.


The Governor of Wyoming is often called the leader of our state. This means that he or she is elected to be the official representative for all of us in matters concerning our state. Sometimes the Governor goes to Washington, D.C. to represent our state. The Governor makes many difficult decisions about what will be best for Wyoming.

It is too hard for a Governor to know the best answers for every question on every subject, so he has advisors who study certain ideas and programs. The Governor meets with these advisors often to hear what they have learned. This is one of the ways the Governor decides the solutions to problems in the state. These advisors direct the daily activities of 40 groups, or agencies, that each have special work to do. The two largest groups are the Wyoming State Department of Health and the Wyoming State Department of Education.

Another important part of the work of the Governor is to meet with many people from many places. He listens to their ideas and these visits help him to make decisions. Sometimes these people come to the Governor's office to talk with him, but the Governor sometimes goes out to visit different communities.

Since the money that is spent on important needs in the state is decided by the Legislature, the Governor does not really have the final choice on how to spend it. But he thinks carefully about how the money should be spent, and gives these ideas to the Legislature by preparing an annual budget.

The Governor cannot make laws, but meets with the legislators many times a month to hear their ideas for Wyoming. He explains his ideas to the legislators, too. Together they try to work out the very best laws that would make Wyoming a better state. When the Legislature votes to make an idea into law, the Governor can sign it. If he does not believe that a law is a good one, the Governor can veto or reject it.

The Governor appoints dozens of people from throughout the state to committees to help decide answers to all kinds of Wyoming problems. He also appoints some people who work directly within state government. The Governor's advisors help to decide upon the best candidates for the positions.

The leader of our state also signs many important documents and papers. He often agrees to honor a special group by signing a document that gives that groups special notice. The Governor is the Commander-in-Chief of the Wyoming Army and Air National Guard. He also oversees the Wyoming Emergency Management Agency which helps the people in Wyoming when they experience natural disasters or other threats.

Governor Gordon's Biography

Text provided by the Governor's Office, June 2008.

Secretary of State

The Secretary of State is the keeper of the Great Seal. One way the Secretary of State makes something official is by attaching the Great Seal to important papers.

The Secretary of State can be called the record keeper of Wyoming. Many different kinds of things must be reported to this office to be legal. People report information about businesses, elections, and selling stocks and bonds. People wanting information often call this office and a staff member can look it up on the computer for them or tell them how to find it on their own computer.

The Secretary of State's Office is divided into six divisions:

The Administration Division keeps track of the money for the other parts of the Office and helps the Secretary of State's employees do their jobs by keeping computer equipment and programs running. This Division is also in charge the Secretary of State's website, which is a huge source of information to the public.

The Business Division keeps information about businesses. Trademarks and trade names are also registered here. You may know about the famous trademarks like Pepsi, Nike, and Xerox. The famous mark which belongs to Wyoming is the Bucking Horse & Rider.

The Compliance Division oversees people who sell securities. Stocks and bonds are called "securities." In addition, the Division helps protect people who try to make money by buying stocks and bonds. Investigating illegal sales and educating people about how to buy securities is also part of the job. This Division also keeps track of notaries public (people who watch other people sign important documents).

The Elections Division administers elections. The voting results for statewide elections are recorded within this Office. In addition, they keep information about how much people spend on elections. They also keep a list of lobbyists; lobbyists are people who influence how laws are made.

The Executive Offices Division provides the leadership and direction to the Office as a whole. The Division includes the Secretary of State, Deputy Secretary of State, the Public Information and Communications Officer as well as the Executive Assistants to the Secretary and Deputy.

State Auditor

The State Auditor is one of five state elected officials. The duties of the State Auditor include being the Chief Accountant and Payroll Officer for state agencies. The powerful computer system maintained by the Auditor's Office provides the means for agencies to submit their accounting information and get back important reports to help in the managing of their budgets. The computer system, called WOLFS (Wyoming Online Financial System), processes all payments made by the state agencies as they pay their bills. The System also processes the pay checks for state employees each month, approximately 10,000 people throughout the state, including patient and inmate workers in the State's institutions, legislators, judges, board members and national guardsmen and women in the State. There are over one million transactions processed through the computer system each year. The Auditor keeps track of all of the state's income, spending, budgets and bad debts. The State Auditor prepares an official report each year that is required by federal and state legislation in order to report the state's financial condition to the public, the legislature, and others who need to know about the financial well-being of the state. Companies that wish to invest in Wyoming are always interested in the financial health of the state. Assisting agencies to manage public money responsibly, with accountability and transparency, using a uniform accounting system, is a top priority of the State Auditor.

The State Auditor serves with the other four elected officials on important boards and commissions, such as the State Loan and Investment Board, which affects every county in Wyoming in some way over a term of office for the elected official. As an elected official, the State Auditor travels extensively throughout the state meeting the public, answering questions about the function of the office, as well as board and commission decisions, and listening to Wyoming residents as they present their concerns. The Auditor also hosts groups in the office, and is available to visit with school classes as they visit the Capitol. Any Wyoming resident who wishes to visit with the Auditor is welcome to come into the office, or call for an open time in the Auditor's schedule.

Auditor Racines' Biography

Text provided by the State Auditor's Office, May 2008.

State Treasurer

The State Treasurer's Office is like a bank for the State of Wyoming. Like a bank, the State Treasurer takes in money from a variety of places.

The primary function is, of course, to invest the monies of the state and see that the maximum income possible is obtained, while at the same time making sure that the funds are safe and secure. In our guidelines, we put safety and security first, income on the investments as second, and third, liquidity. Liquidity means short-term availability of the funds. In other words, in order to run state government, we must have a percentage of the total funds available for conversion to cash immediately to meet the needs of running state government.

The Treasurer's Office keeps track of all of the money that belongs to the state. The State Treasurer is responsible for the money and must never let the state go into debt. The State Treasurer is assisted by a number of people who keep records of all of the money, which averages out to be about $10 billion. All money that has not been spent by the state is invested.

In Wyoming, a very large part of the funds necessary to run state government comes from the investment income. The State Treasurer also serves on several boards and commissions.

Another function of the State Treasurer is to administer the Unclaimed Property Division. This Division is responsible for receiving unclaimed funds from any entity that cannot locate the owner. Upon receipt of these funds, the Division attempts to locate the owners and reunite the rightful owner/heir with their property by advertising the names in one or more papers of general circulation once a year. The Division is also in contact with other states to bring Wyoming residents' unclaimed funds back to Wyoming.

Treasurer Meier's Biography

Text provided by the State Treasurer's Office, May 2008.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction

The Wyoming Constitution requires the State Legislature to provide for the establishment and maintenance of a complete and uniform system of free public instruction. The Constitution says that this free instruction must be available for everyone. The Constitution does not include any duties or powers for the post of State Superintendent. The decision about those duties and powers is made by the Legislature.

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction is elected for a term of four years. The person must be at least twenty-five years of age, a citizen of the United States, and have resided within the state for one year. The State Superintendent takes an oath to uphold the state constitution and state statutes.

The State Superintendent oversees K-12 education in the state; makes rules and regulations; enforces the provisions of the Wyoming Education Code; prepares and maintains a list of accredited schools; gathers reports and statistics as required by law; inspects schools; and appoints members to the Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board. The State Superintendent also serves on numerous boards and commissions and is required to make a biennial report to the Governor and legislature.

Superintendent Schroeder's Biography

Text provided by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction's Office, May 2008.