PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — R.I. Auditor General Dennis Hoyle has retired after more than four decades working for the little-known state agency that other public bodies fear to see coming.
The longtime public servant said Friday he officially retired from the Auditor General’s Office on Dec. 31 after more than 42 years with the agency. He spent the last 13 years as auditor general, succeeding Ernie Almonte in 2010.
“I’m most grateful for the opportunity to lead the Office of the Auditor General for more than a decade and contribute to the state’s overall efforts to enhance accountability,” Hoyle said in a statement. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet and learn from so many great people along the way – both in the OAG and throughout state and local government.”
Hoyle, who is a General Assembly appointee, oversaw the auditing function of the state. Each year he and his team of auditors picked apart the state budget, examined spending patterns and performed a variety of individual audits of quasi-public agencies.
Hoyle spent much of his career as auditor general pushing for agencies to comply with federal requirements and improve internal operations, playing a unique behind-the-scenes role helping the state right the ship after government officials prematurely rolled out the disastrous Unified Health Infrastructure Project, also known as UHIP.
He also recalled his experience working on the 1990s banking crisis and examining the Institute for International Sport.
On the local level, Hoyle was responsible for reviewing the financial health of cities and towns, often acting as a backstop whenever balance sheets got out of whack. He and then-General Treasurer Seth Magaziner also advocated for the state to allow locally administered pension plans — often underfunded, squeezing city and town budgets — to join the state’s plan, which is larger and typically gets more consistent annual returns.
“The work has always been interesting, and it has been a gift to be consistently engaged and challenged each day,” he said.
In 2020, Hoyle famously became ensnared in a State House scandal when then-House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello tried to direct him to audit the R.I. Convention Center at the same time that the speaker’s friend was caught up in a personnel issue there. The speaker’s critics said he ordered the audit to try and intimidate the complex’s leaders.
Hoyle, who never performed the audit, ended up testifying before a grand jury that was mounted to examine the issue. Mattiello was never charged, but he lost re-election later that year and now works as a State House lobbyist.
David Bergantino, who has been with the state agency for 26 years, will serve as the interim auditor general. Hoyle said he would help with the transition.