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The pros and cons of consolidating the comptroller’s office with the treasurer’s office

Monday, Jul 23, 2018

* Press release…

Today, Jim Dodge, the Republican nominee for State Treasurer, and Darlene Senger, the Republican nominee for State Comptroller, issued a joint statement calling on the legislature to pass legislation consolidating the two offices:

“Illinois is facing a budget shortfall and a politician surplus. We urge the legislature to save taxpayer dollars by consolidating the offices of Treasurer and Comptroller.”

Dodge and Senger pointed out that most states have one Chief Financial Officer and that by dividing the duties between two constitutional officers the state is wasting money. It is estimated that consolidating the two offices could save taxpayers between $12 and $14 million.

Both candidates urged their Democratic opponents to join them in pledging to fight for consolidation.

“Mike Frerichs and Susana Mendoza should be a part of the Illinois budget solution, not part of the problem,” said Dodge.

“We shouldn’t feel comfortable asking Illinois taxpayers to tighten their belts and handover more of their hard-earned money, when political leaders in Springfield aren’t willing to do the same thing,” added Senger.

In 2012, the Illinois state Senate voted to place the question of consolidation on the ballot in the 2014 election. Democratic Speaker of the House Mike Madigan, however, blocked the provision from passing the House.

“The only consolidation Mike Madigan is interested in is the kind that consolidates his power, he is wholly uninterested in saving taxpayer dollars,” said Senger.

“Mike Frerichs and Susana Mendoza should have the political courage to stand up to Mike Madigan and to stand up for Illinois taxpayers,” concluded Dodge.

* Greg Hinz followed up

“I voted to put (the merger) on the ballot,” Frerichs told me in a phone call. “Unlike Republicans, I’ve supported this idea whether Republicans or Democrats have held these jobs. When Leslie Munger was comptroller (she was unseated by Mendoza in the 2014 election), silence. . . .Why didn’t Republicans say something then?”

Frerichs also challenged whether the $12 million to $14 million in potential savings are real or “something in a press release.” In fact, his entire annual operating budget is only $7.6 million, Frerichs said. […]

“The framers of the state constitution were familiar with the potential for corruption in having one officer in charge of receiving money, investing it and paying it out. That’s because Orville Hodge embezzled $6 million in state funds in the ’50s. That’s $57 million in today’s money—far more than the phony projected savings number,” said a [Mendoza] spokesman, referring to the infamous former auditor of public accounts, which later became the comptroller’s office. “Not only could this still happen—it did happen as recently as 2012. Rita Crundwell was the combined comptroller and treasurer of Dixon, Ill. She was convicted of embezzling $53.7 million from the town’s taxpayers.”

The spokesman also pointed to Mendoza’s fight with Gov. Bruce Rauner over refinancing state debts, exchanging bonds that cost interest of 3.5 percent compared to IOUs that carried a 12 percent rate.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

16 Comments
  1. - Barrington - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:55 pm:

    I vote that we start by consolidating the Deputy Governor with the Governor position.


  2. - RNUG - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:58 pm:

    Didn’t we try this before? And make sure the 1970 Constitution separated those functions?


  3. - PJ - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 1:59 pm:

    How on earth would that save 14 million dollars? You could cut out a politician, but it’s not like you could just eliminate half of both offices. They have separate and important jobs to do, unless Republicans aren’t interested in making sure the money we collect and spend is handled well.


  4. - DuPage - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 2:02 pm:

    They should leave it the way it is now. There have been problems decades ago that led to the two separate offices being created. It makes it so there is less chance of someone embezzling or misdirecting funds, etc.
    The savings would not be that large, as the two separate offices mostly do different functions.


  5. - Just Observing - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 2:04 pm:

    === How on earth would that save 14 million dollars? You could cut out a politician, but it’s not like you could just eliminate half of both offices. They have separate and important jobs to do, unless Republicans aren’t interested in making sure the money we collect and spend is handled well. ===

    I’m sure you can cut out more than just one politician — I’m sure there is duplication in IT staff, deputies, PR and community outreach staff, etc. etc.


  6. - PJ - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 2:07 pm:

    ==I’m sure you can cut out more than just one politician==

    Sure. But if you assume the average salary in those offices is somewhere around 60k (it’s probably less), 14 million would be cutting 230 jobs. There’s no way we have 230 duplicate IT and PR staff in those offices.


  7. - ChrisB - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 2:12 pm:

    Frerichs is being disingenuous here. JBT, Munger’s predecessor, campaigned on this very issue back in 2010.


  8. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 2:25 pm:

    Let’s abolish the Lieutenant Governor’s office instead if we need to save a few bucks. We need more internal control, not less.


  9. - Long time R - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 2:53 pm:

    Mendoza all the sudden not so interested in saving money or good government consolidation, what a surprise.


  10. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 3:09 pm:

    Did Mendoza just copy and paste Madigan’s 2012 response to this idea?
    https://capitolfax.com/2012/05/03/madigan-points-to-dixon-as-reason-to-block-merger-proposal/


  11. - Me Again - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 4:03 pm:

    Check with DHS on how merging their IT shops went since DHS was created in 1997.

    Basically it never happened - those IT shops are still separate entities. They just sit under one roof now.


  12. - regnaD kciN - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 4:25 pm:

    From a governmental perspective I think it makes more sense to consolidate the Attorney General’s office in with the Governor than it does to consolidate the Comptroller and Treasurer.


  13. - Rocinante - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 5:34 pm:

    ==good government consolidation==

    I fail to see how removing a system of checks and balances that was put in place because there was literal corruption is good government consolidation.


  14. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Jul 23, 18 @ 5:53 pm:

    Keep the offices separate. Have people run in one election, the winner becomes Comptroller, the runner up becomes Treasurer. That strengthens the check and balance structure.


  15. - Rabid - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 1:57 am:

    Dodge and Senger consolidating to eliminate what they can’t win


  16. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 7:28 am:

    “If you won’t vote for me for a full office, will you vote for me for half an office?”


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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