Illinois News

Republican comptroller candidate calls for merger of offices

Illinois Comptroller candidate Darlene Senger, left, discusses consolidating the state's comptroller and treasurer offices at a press conference Wednesday at Arnold, Behrens, Nesbit and Gray P.C., a certified public accounting firm in Quincy, State Sen. Jil Tracy, center, and state Rep. Randy Frese also were at the conference. | H-W Photo/Phil Carlson
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 8, 2018 5:25 pm Updated: Aug. 8, 2018 5:37 pm

QUINCY -- Darlene Senger, who visited Quincy on Wednesday, hopes voters will elect her as the next Illinois comptroller -- and perhaps the last comptroller.

Senger, a Republican, and Jim Dodge, the Republican candidate for treasurer, would like to merge the offices. They said this idea has been debated regularly since 2011 when the late Judy Baar Topinka was comptroller and Dan Rutherford was treasurer. At that time, the pair of constitutional officers said consolidating services into a single office would save $12 to $14 million per year.

"I think that's a conservative number" and actual savings could be higher, Senger said.

Senger, a former member of the Naperville City Council, also served two terms in the Illinois House. She said the Illinois Senate at one time voted 55-0 for consolidating the two offices, but Speaker of the House Michael Madigan would not allow a vote in the House.

"The voters should say whether we combine these offices," Senger said.

Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs, a Democrat, has endorsed the merger, but Comptroller Susana Mendoza said corruption would be easier if a single office was handling billions of taxpayers dollars.

Senger said technology and the oversight of auditors would not end with a single office.

The offices are outlined in the Illinois Constitution, so it would take a three-fifths vote in the Legislature and then a ballot issue for voters to decide.

Illinois is one of the few states with both a treasurer, who receives and invests the money, and a comptroller, who disburses funds.

Senger said there would be efficiencies in combining the offices to allow decisions on what funds need to be in bank accounts and what could be left in investments a little longer.

She said the obvious savings of a merger would include the officeholder, a chief of staff and other officials that all administrators have. Some workers might need to be transferred within state government, but would not lose jobs.

"Why are they against it? Senators unanimously said we should do it. You should ask the speaker ‘Why are you blocking it?' " Senger said.

 

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