Bathon cites vast experience in bid for re-election

By Steve Gonzalez | Sep 21, 2006

Q.What are the primary responsibilities of a county treasurer?

A.County treasurers have dual responsibilities as a county treasurer and as a county collector.

As county treasurer I am responsible for safeguarding county funds, by receipting, depositing and investing all public moneys of the county.

As county collector, my responsibility is to mail tax bills and to collect and distribute the real estate taxes paid to the appropriate school districts and local governmental entities.

Additional duties differ dramatically from county to county. Just to name a few examples of additional duties, my office manages and processes payroll for all county employees. Also my office handles the entire Mobile Home tax process.

Q.What professional credentials should a treasurer possess?

A.First and foremost, a treasurer needs a strong background in governmental accounting and have administrative experience.

That experience must include a full understanding of the entire complicated real estate tax process; from assessments, to tax levies, and tax extensions, to how a tax bill is calculated, collected and distributed by the county treasurer.

The treasurer must assemble and manage a large professional staff.

A treasurer must be unafraid to speak out on behalf of the taxpayers, regardless of who may be impacted.

Finally, the treasurer must be someone whose honesty and integrity is beyond dispute. I have spent over 25 years as a deputy county auditor, county auditor and, now, county treasurer, managing a professional staff, working directly in government finance, and speaking out for the taxpayers.

Q.What are your accomplishments in office?

A.My staff and I inherited a technologically backward office. We upgraded the office technology, implemented a professional investment policy and installed a cash receipting accounting system like those used in the banking industry.

We then took over the county's payroll responsibilities from the County Clerk's Office. Now, we are putting into place a cutting-edge, web-based payroll program like those used by American's largest corporations.

Q.How would you distinguish yourself from your opponent?

A.I have a 25-year record in office of integrity and honest, outspoken public servant.

I have spent my career in management as a governmental finance officer, watching out for the interests of taxpayers. My opponent, Kurt Prenzler, simply cannot offer any comparable experience.
Prenzler defaulted on a $29,000 loan in Colorado and was sued to force him to pay.

He left Colorado without paying the loan and had to be tracked down in Mclean County, Illinois. A Mclean County court threatened him with contempt before he repaid the debt.

Prenzler has shown the lack of integrity and accountability. His record of personal mismanagement, and irresponsibility with his own personal finances should disqualify him from any public office that manages public money.

Q.Your opponent claims you helped get favorable assessments for friends. How do you respond?

A.My opponent's honesty, integrity and character have been seriously called into question during this campaign. This false and malicious accusation is just one more example.

This statement has been refuted by Board of Review Chairman Kerry Miller, County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan and County Board member Hal Patton.

They have stated six subdivisions in my area were completely re-assessed by a board of review motion because of a property tax code classification error made by the township assessor's office. My subdivision was one of those included in the reassessment process. The bottom line is that I had nothing to do with any reassessments.

Q.Your opponent also claims that management comprises the greatest portion of your office's salary budget. How do you respond?

A.This is a cheap shot. My salary is set by law and my union employees' salaries are set by contract. Salaries earned by my managers are fair because of their many years of experience, higher education, and professional certification (CPA), they have obtained.

Any suggestion that my team is overpaid versus their experience, education and credentials is false and malicious. Again, this is a cheap shot and an effort by my opponent to hide that he has not been accountable for prior debts and has mismanaged his personal finances.

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