Renewed Efforts To Merge Offices Of Comptroller And Treasurer

Jan 7, 2015

Illinois lawmakers will be back in Springfield Thursday for a special session. They're set to debate holding a special election for the office of Comptroller. Other ideas are on the table too.

The stir over what to do about the Comptroller's office began when, just before she was to be sworn in for a second term, Judy Baar Topinka suddenly passed away.

Next week, Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner will appoint Leslie Munger -- a businesswoman and failed candidate for state representative -- to fill Topinka's spot for the next four years.

But current Gov. Pat Quinn, and other Democrats say that's too long. They propose a special election in 2016.

Credit WNIJ

Other legislators say instead, Illinois should focus on merging the offices of Comptroller and Treasurer.

A plan to do that has stalled, and Republican Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine is pushing to move it forward.

Illinois' next Treasurer, Democrat Mike Frerichs, has come out in favor of something similar.

He says the state would save $24 million by asking voters in 2016 to eliminate the office of Comptroller.

Frerichs would also be helping save his own political hide.

That move would leave Leslie Munger out of office, but allow him to keep his job.

Frerichs said in a statement that shortly before Topinka died, they talked about working together to combine the state's two fiscal positions,  and he's committed to keeping his promise.