Election 2012: Kane County Auditor
Three Republicans will face each other in the primary election on Tuesday, March 20. No Democrat candidate filed for the primary election.
When current Kane County Auditor Bill Keck announced his decision to retire, Terry Hunt approached the situation as a lifelong accountant would—methodically.
“My wife and I discussed the opportunity that had been presented, and we talked with our daughter and son-in-law,” Hunt said. “We prayed for guidance, which ultimately gave me the courage and confidence to become a candidate.”
That confidence is based on his 37 years of work as an accountant, his time spent as a CFO in the private sector, as well as his efforts to found, grow and maintain his own small business.
With the confidence of his accomplishments combined with the due diligence of learning more about the details of the office, Hunt learned the broader scope of the office.
“One important factor is that in Kane County, we have an elected auditor,” Hunt said. “To me, that means my primary responsibility will always be to serve the citizens and taxpayers. I will work with the chairman, and the board, and other elected officials and departments, but I will be working for the citizens and taxpayers of Kane County.”
To begin working effectively for the citizens and taxpayers of Kane County from day one, Hunt developed a short-term seven-point approach to improving the office without adding more to the budget.
He would publish the county checkbook online in a user-friendly format. He said that currently, the information is available in .pdf format, but for those who wish to cross reference the information and really dive into the details, the information should be available in a more easy-to-use manner.
Hunt would audit the entire county’s credit card system, review and monitor every county contract, and institute a system that would better monitor checks issued from every county department.
“That is a simple but effective way to improve internal controls,” Hunt said.
Further, he would enhance the existing risk assessment program, coordinate a fraud protection plan, and establish an audit hotline that would provide a way for the public to directly connect with the office of Kane County Auditor.
“The County Auditor is an important job, with a high level of commitment to the citizens and taxpayers of our community,” Hunt said. “I will never take that responsibility lightly.”
Laura C. Wallett
Laura Wallett’s decision to enter county politics was born from a sense of activism. With a philosophy of fiscal responsibility and limited government, she began to attend most County Board meetings and other functions. This enabled her to learn how things currently operate, and she saw an opportunity to help improve the county government when current Kane County Auditor Bill Keck announced his retirement.
Having worked as an accountant for 22 years, Wallet said she has the skills and training necessary to be an effective county auditor.
“My dedication to my profession, through continuing education and practice, gives me the unique skill sets to bring new ideas and increased involvement of the auditor’s office in developing sound financial policy and procedures for the county,” she said.
She plans to apply her background to accomplish three specific goals if elected: modernize the auditor’s office, improve government operations, and increase government transparency.
Wallett said that modernizing the office would improve efficiency throughout the county, and provide a more thorough check and balance.
“An enhanced system of inventory and asset tracking can monitor items purchased with taxpayer dollars more efficiently,” she said. “This can be achieved by enhancing existing accounting software.”
Wallet said that a key component of her job would be to audit county departments to find ways of providing taxpayers with better services and improved controls at less cost.
“The auditor identifies wasteful practices and weak control procedures, and recommends corrective action,” she said.
Wallett would streamline current purchasing procedures to make them less cumbersome, as well as to encourage participation across departments to save money. She would examine special funds that are currently running at deficit spending and provide recommendations on how to prevent them from becoming a burden on future taxpayers. She specified three examples: court security, animal control and circuit clerk funds.
Due to her professional background as an accountant, combined with her personality traits, Wallett feels she is uniquely qualified for the position.
“I am an astute business person, an excellent communicator with superb listening skills, a clear and analytical thinker, consensus-builder, a creative problem-solver and idea generator, and an ethical professional who can be trusted to always operate from the highest level of integrity and act on the strength of my convictions,” she said.
Spending the past 16 years as a corrections officer with the Kane County Sheriff’s Department—and the past three as the union’s president—has given Karl Regnier an understanding of the importance of accountability, integrity and team work.
He said those three things are the centerpiece of his campaign, as well as what would drive him if he is elected to office.
“As a public employee, I am accountable to the people of Kane County for ensuring their tax dollars are being spent correctly, efficiently and effectively,” he said. “I will analyze spending and work with department officials to find ways to reduce spending and eliminate unnecessary expenses.”
His experience with the union, and his time as its president, has given him the skills necessary to build a more cooperative environment with the various county departments.
“Teamwork within and between all county officials and offices will help to make a stronger, more effective and efficient county government,” Regnier said. “I will strive to work professionally with each and every elected official so that together we can create a productive and fiscally responsible county government.”
While it is important to work to come together as a team, it is equally important to not be afraid to challenge the status quo, he said.
“I am not afraid to question spending or voice my opinions and concerns when I do not agree with the way something is being done,” Regnier said.
While performing the functions of the auditor’s office, Regnier said he would not allow politics influence his decision-making process. He explained that the auditor’s primary role is to responsibly manage the taxpayer’s money, and therefore integrity is an essential aspect of the person filling that role.
“I have seen a lot of ‘the good ol’ boy network’ in county politics over the years working at the Sheriff’s Office, but I do not operate in that manner and won’t be influenced or bullied into making decisions that aren’t in the best interest of the taxpayers,” he said. “I am honest and up front and will lead the auditor’s office as such.”