State auditor Troy Kelley called to active duty in South Korea

State Auditor Troy Kelley has been called to active-duty military service.

His office said he is in South Korea on a roughly two-week trip that started early this week.

The Tacoma Democrat took office as state auditor Jan. 16. A former state lawmaker with a background in the mortgage industry, Kelley has doubled as a judge advocate or Army lawyer for nearly two decades. He’s now a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard and is frequently called to duty — though rarely this far away from Olympia. His spokesman said he believes the five previous overseas tours in Kelley’s military career were all to Korea.

Kelley has been overseas since Sunday or Monday, spokesman Matt Miller said. His managers were told about his trip, and presumably many employees knew the boss was gone, but an email didn’t go out to all employees until Friday.

The office did not make a public announcement.

His office said Kelley is in daily contact with his executive team, including a chief budget officer as lawmakers negotiate a state budget in the waning days of their 105-day session.

There is no acting auditor, Miller said.

“He doesn’t really micromanage,” Miller said. “He steers the ship but it keeps on going. There are 350 (employees).”