Government
11:50 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Should Illinois combine treasurer, comptroller offices?

Illinois lawmakers have long debated whether to combine the offices of comptroller and treasurer. Both candidates for treasurer are competing to one-up each other over whether the office should even exist.  

The offices of treasurer and comptroller were separated years ago in order to reduce opportunities for corruption, so the person managing the state’s investments isn’t also the one writing checks. But both candidates for treasurer say they support combining those jobs, saving millions of dollars a year.

But Republican Rep. Tom Cross says his Democratic opponent, Sen. Mike Frerichs, recently changed his mind on the question. Frerichs told a Chicago radio show he thought having the two separate offices could prevent fraud. But he says that’s not a change in position.

“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,” says Frerichs.

Asked why Cross is running for an office he thinks should be consolidated, his campaign manager says as long as the separate offices exist, Cross would (quote) “invest taxpayer dollars wisely and safely.”