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Candidates argue over a dead idea

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014

* Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) voted to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2011 which would merge the offices of comptroller and treasurer. The measure went nowhere in the House.

But when asked the other day by WBBM’s Craig Dellimore whether he supported merging the office, Frerichs said

“People have said to me, ‘Wouldn’t it just be a lot more efficient if we just had one financial officer?’ And I’ve said yes, we could become very efficient, efficient like the city of Dixon, Illinois, who just had one chief financial officer and she was able, from this small little town, over several years to take something like $52 million away from them.”

* Rep. Tom Cross’ campaign pounced…

“Mike Frerichs’ opposition to streamlining these offices reveals a troubling lack of consistency and fortitude, which will cost Illinois taxpayers more despite already being victims of the Quinn/Frerichs tax and spend regime,” said Kevin Artl, Campaign Manager for Cross for Treasurer. “After the Quinn/Frerichs team raised taxes, cut funding for education and drove jobs out of Illinois, Frerichs is continuing to punish Illinois taxpayers by opposing one of the most practical, common sense cost-saving measures available to lawmakers.”

* As did the Illinois GOP…

Why did Mike Frerichs switch his position on merging the office of comptroller and treasurer? In 2011, Frerichs voted to support the measure. In January 2014, he answered the Daily Herald Treasurer candidate questionnaire by touting his support of the merger. But now in April 2014, he opposes the merger. Why the change in position?

* Frerichs held a press conference yesterday and was asked about this

“What I said that I think he misconstrued—or his team that they probably misconstrued—is that we need to make sure that we have proper internal control in place, and checks and balances.”

* More

“I think you can combine the offices if you have strong controls in place,” Frerichs, of Champaign, told reporters.

“If we can get those strong internal controls and checks and balances, then yes, I think we should take action to save money for the people of the state of Illinois,” he said.

Past corruption led to the creation of separate fiscal offices as part of the 1970 Illinois Constitution.

But the reality is, this idea is going nowhere as long as House Speaker Michael Madigan remains opposed.

* By the way, Cross reported raising $232K last quarter, spent $410K and had $210K cash on hand.

Frerichs raised $375K, spent $127K and had just under $1.1 million on hand.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    This is just like the Lincoln/Douglas debates.

    I guess when you have a race for treasurer, you have to try to gin up some kind of issue that you hope people will tune in to.

    But it’s so small bore. Merge them, keep them separate, who cares?

  2. - Powell - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    I think this is more about frerichs inability to stay on message. Why would he give that bizarre, unintelligible quote to WBBM when he clearly is on record as supporting the merger. Another unforced error by frerichs

  3. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    If merging those offices will free up an extra few million $ for services to the homeless or similar programs, I am all for it.

    Every dollar counts with programs like that.

  4. - Walker - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    Maintaining the separate functions, in separate offices, was once considered part of “government reform”, and a key anti-corruption measure.

    Current “reformers” take heed. Simple solutions almost never work as imagined.

    In two other states where I have resided, the top Republican goal for years, for the almost miraculous salvation of their state economy and fiscal health, has been moving to a flat income tax.

    You gotta love those silver bullets.

  5. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    Meanwhile, Frerichs appears to have an affinity for shooting himself in the foot.

    He still hasn’t learned the lessons from Day 1 of his rollout.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    My two favorite candidates!

    @FakeMikeFrerichs - My bad! This defending your record or running on the record, it got the birds! #DopeyOstrich

    @FakeMikeFrerichs - in my blatantly false rollout, I was for the merger. Now, anything to show I an inept is just gravy. #MostAnnoyingStatewideCandidate

  7. - Almost the Weekend - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    Frerichs is doing a great job raising money, it seems everything else is either off message or messed up. Botched campaign announcement, and another accusation of playing both sides on an irrelevant issue in his reform press conference.

  8. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    I hope Cross won’t be spending Treasurer’s funds like he’s spending his campaign money. Or treating the office like his “close friend” Rod Blagojevich treated the Governor’s office.

  9. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    It took Rita Crundwell 22 years to get $52,000,000 in tax dollars.

    It took Pat Quinn six weeks to get that amount and he even got an extra $2,000,000.

    Quinn beats Crundwell on a muddy track by a country mile.

  10. - Quick Nick - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    It seems every time Frerichs opens his mouth he also shoots himself in the foot. His rollout was embarrassing, this is embarrassing, he constant facebooking is embarrassing.

    If it wasn’t for his money, which I am sure he will waste further embarrassing himself, he wouldn’t be taken seriously at all.

  11. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    Appreciate the analogy but not entirely fair. The big difference is that Crundwell kept the money while Quinn spread the money to others for political and social gains. Quinn to George Ryan’s “Illinois First” is the better analogy.

  12. - LincolnLounger - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    Typical Frerichs. So ambitious and supremely confident, everything he says is a new pronouncement that dare not be challenged.

    It’s really too bad that a big thinker like Biss isn’t in the race.

  13. - DuPage - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    How much would it save to merge the two offices? Not enough to be worth it, because inherent safeguards would be lost. The reason the two separate offices were put into the Illinois constitution was to make it harder to get away with embezzlement at the state level.

  14. - foster brooks - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    rita crundwell stole 52 million. Bruce rauner earned 52 million last year…hmmmm lol

  15. - Barney - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    to me, this isn’t about the policy. it’s about Frerichs. For crying out loud, Frerichs supported the merger. Frerichs voted for the merger. why would you even give Cross the opening to attack with a rambling answer to a simple question.

  16. - North 40 - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    Frerichs has always been about one person, himself. He surrounds himself with people who don’t question anything he does and then acts “outraged” when he is dared confronted with his flip flops.

  17. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    It is pretty clever for Frerichs to bring up mass fraud in elected officials, you know as a guy running for elected office.

    Oh wait.


    No it wasn’t.

  18. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 2:55 pm:

    Lincoln Lounger - my kingdom for a Biss or a Manar instead of Frerichs.

    Or just about anyone else, really. sigh.

  19. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    No wonder Grogan wanted to run for this office.

  20. - MyTwoCents - Wednesday, Apr 30, 14 @ 5:29 pm:

    It’s a lot easier to embezzle when you’re 1 person and there’s a lax auditor than when it’s an entire office staff and the Auditor General examining the books. That’s why the Dixon comparison falls flat.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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