Madison County board member David Michael, who is running on the Republican ticket for county auditor, said that if elected, he would operate collaboratively with the county in a non-partisan role to ensure the county runs more effectively.
“It’s my vision to bring non-partisan and non-political leadership to the county auditor’s office,” Michael said. “In accounting, there are no ‘Republican’ or ‘Democrat’ transactions, only numbers. And numbers don’t lie and don’t have partisan beliefs. I look forward to being the independent watchdog this county deserves to not only prevent fraud and abuse, but also shine a bright light on government waste one dollar at a time.”
Michael said the county auditor needs to know the general financial principles to ensure that county officials are in compliance with those principles.
Beyond ensuring that the accounting is correct, Michael added that it is important for the county auditor to ensure that appropriate expenditures are made.
He said that if he were elected county auditor, he looks forward to the opportunity to challenge whether or not certain expenses are the best use of taxpayer money.
“The thing I’m most excited about is to audit specific departments to ensure efficiency and effectiveness, because I just don’t think that’s going on right now,” Michael said.
He explained that the audit wouldn’t be a criminal investigation, but just an analysis to find ways to make things run more efficiently.
He added that he also intends to implement internal controls to eliminate fraud and abuse by having “protections in place so no one person could commit fraud without the system stopping them.”
Michael said that currently the county and the auditor operate separately, but he hopes to create a much more collaborative role if elected.
“It’s clear the county and auditor don’t work together,” he said.
In July, the County Board and Auditor Rick Faccin reached a settlement in a lawsuit contesting a resolution demanding read-only access to the county financial system for certain officials.
The resolution had originally established access for County Chairman Kurt Prenzler, County Administrator Doug Hulme, Treasurer Chris Slusser, the Madison County Board, and additional unknown officials.
Faccin filed the suit in Madison County against the County Board, Prenzler, Hulme, and Slusser. He seeks an injunction of a March 20, 2019 resolution ordering the auditor to allow the board and a number of officials access to the USL financial system used to track county financial information.
The tentative settlement allows Prenzler and Hulme the ability to view the county’s revenue and expenditures for the past 10 years.
Michael said that while he supports “complete access and transparency,” he was "not happy" with the lawsuit, which cost the taxpayers more money.
He added that accountants provide information to management about the taxpayer’s money and finances, which should be transparent.
Michael is from Highland. He attended University of Illinois where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in Spanish and later earned a master’s degree in accounting. Michael also earned the title of CPA after passing the exams.
He also spent some time studying abroad in Costa Rica, where he taught at schools.
During college, Michael worked in the audit department for Deloitte in Chicago. He was offered a full time job following graduation. However, he went on to work as the vice president of finance for Father McGivney Catholic School, where he worked full time for five years. He was responsible for financials, fundraising, recruiting, and the development side of things.
Michael said he currently maintains the CFO role, but he also works full time as the head accounting professor at Kaskaskia College in Centralia. He teaches finance and managerial and tax accounting. He also oversees adjunct professors, among other roles.
Michael was elected to the Madison County Board in 2016. He is on the finance committee, executive committee, planning and development committee, transportation committee, and is chair of the grants committee.
Michael also said that if he were elected county auditor, he would not accept a pension.