Prenzler calls Bathon political 'lapdog'

Steve Gonzalez Sep. 7, 2006, 11:27am

Kurt Prenzler, Republican candidate for Madison County Treasurer, railed on his opponent for not running a tight ship during a press conference outside the county's administration building Thursday.

Prenzler said he has found that the Madison County Treasurer's office has the highest cost per capita of all counties in Illinois with a population over 60,000.

"Madison County's office is 29 percent more expensive that the next most expensive county -- the much smaller Williamson County with a population of only 63,617," Prenzler said.

He also said that the cost of running the treasurer's office this year is 72 percent higher that the cost in 1996, the last year (Congressman) John Shimkus, a Republican from Collinsville, ran that office.

Prenzler said Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon has a combined budget of more than $6.8 million over seven years and was only $1,353 under budget. In comparison, Shimkus had a budget in 1995 and 1996 of $1.4 million and ran his department $154,615 under budget.

"If the current treasurer was running a private business, how would the stockholders judge his performance?" Prenzler asked. "After increasing the budget over 10 years and spending the budget year after year, he would probably be fired."

Prenzler also noted that the combined salaries of Bathon and his daughter Rachel Bathon account for 17 percent of the office's full-time payroll.

"Forty nine percent of the full-time payroll goes to the treasurer, his daughter, and five other political appointees, leaving the remaining 51 percent of the payroll to 14 union employees," Prenzler said.

"That does not sound very union friendly," he added.

Prenzler vowed not to hire any relatives and said he would treat union employees more respectfully.

"The current treasurer declares himself to be a taxpayer watchdog. I contend that the current treasurer is akin to a political lapdog, who rises only to eat from the taxpayer's trough," Prenzler said.

"Taxpayers in Madison County do need a guard dog to protect them from high, and ever increasing property taxes-they just need a new dog."

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