Editor's note: Sauk Valley Media presents a series of guest columns by candidates in key contested races in the March 20 primary election. Candidates were invited to write up to 500 words about why voters should support them. Today's race: Lee County treasurer.
For the first time in 24 years, the voters will be choosing a different Lee County treasurer.
As a Republican candidate running for that office, I would like to share my qualifications so voters can make an informed decision at the March 20 primary election.
I attended Northern Illinois University, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1987, and a master’s degree in accounting in 1990. I passed the Certified Public Accountant exam in 1989.
My career in financial services spans 27 years. Over this period, I have been an auditor, tax preparer, controller, treasurer and chief financial officer. Some of my responsibilities
included preparing and analyzing financial reports for presidents, boards and councils, auditing the financial records of counties, establishing accounting systems, developing accounting policies, cash management, complying with federal, state and IRS regulations, supervising and training staff on fiscal procedures, levying taxes and issuing bonds.
Altogether, I have worked in governmental accounting for 22 years. I spent 17 years at Sauk Valley Community College, first as controller and then as chief financial officer and treasurer. Since being recruited in 2012, I have been employed by the city of Dixon as the finance director and treasurer.
At the city of Dixon, we created a finance department and established an accounting system in the aftermath of the former treasurer’s embezzlement. There were some very long months of streamlining processes, developing financial policies, and creating the checks and balances that were previously missing. The updated financial statements are clear and concise, making the City Council’s job much easier.
One of my continual goals is to improve the financial condition of the organizations where I am employed. During my 7 years as CFO at Sauk, the general operating fund balance increased from $650,000 to $5.8 million. During that time, the administration and board of trustees made use of accurate data and long-term forecasting to make decisions that yielded the most benefit at the least cost.
The Dixon City Council uses the same financial information to carefully dole out funds for public safety and infrastructure improvements. Upon my advice, Dixon set up
$8 million in operating and capital reserves and paid off the general obligation debt, which saved $3 million in interest expense.
I take pleasure in the knowledge that what I do makes a positive difference in people’s lives. At Sauk, I helped continue services to students intent on improving their future. At the city of Dixon, I ensure the funding is available for public safety and street, water and infrastructure systems that benefit the citizens. My communication of financial information has improved the trust extended to the city of Dixon.
I would like to use the skills acquired over 27 years to serve as the next Lee County treasurer.
I would appreciate your vote on March 20.
Occupation: Finance Director, City of Dixon (since 2012)
Education: Northern Illinois University, bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting
Experience: Certified Public Accountant since 1989; controller, chief financial officer, Sauk Valley Community College (1995-2012)