Incumbent runs on record: challenger calls for efficiency
Incumbent Kane County Treasurer David J. Rickert will face challenger Bob Kovanic in the primary election on Tuesday, Feb. 2. No one is running in the Democratic race.
Photo: David J. Ricket (right) and Bob Kovanic (left)
David J. Rickert
Rickert is a Certified Public Accountant and is currently serving as the Kane County Treasurer. Prior to his election as treasurer, Rickert worked as a senior auditor for a Fortune 500 company. Prior to that, he served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve.
He said that his decision to continue in his role as Kane County Treasurer was based on his desire to continue to serve.
â€œI enjoy serving the citizens of Kane County,â€ he said. â€œAs a Certified Public Accountant with a master’s degree in accounting and extensive computer knowledge, my background enables me to take a hands-on approach to monitoring the investments, the tax process and the financial accounting of the office. If re-elected, I plan to continue to bring my expertise and energy to making the office the best it can be and a model for others to follow.â€
Rickert said his track record demonstrates his abilities with managing the countyâ€™s funds.
â€œUnder my leadership, a diversified portfolio of government bonds, certificates of deposits, and overnight bank deposits has been developed that consistently out-performs the State of Illinois Money Market Fund (MMF) funds,â€ he said. â€œThe bond fund for the county yielded more than $400,000 in additional interest income in its first year of operation.â€
In addition to his focus on managing the county funds, he also strives to continually improve the efficiency of his office.
â€œSome of the most beneficial initiatives that I’ve undertaken to date have been joint efforts to increase efficiency,â€ Rickert said. â€œFor example, a unified tax system that integrates the tax information from the Clerk, Supervisor of Assessments, and Treasurer’s Offices was implemented. This has reduced expenses and streamlined the process between the three offices.â€
The offices also worked together to provide information on all aspects of property taxes that he said would be helpful to citizens, including adding an insert into each tax bill that provides useful information.
â€œThe combination of working together and informing taxpayers about their options has been extremely successful,â€ Rickert said. â€œMy plan is to keep the information current and increase these initiatives if re-elected.â€
He said it was this track record that led to his recognition as the 2009 County Treasurer of the Year (Zone IV) by the Illinois County Treasurer’s Association. If re-elected, he plans to continue to expand on that record of accomplishment, he said.
â€œOne focus for my next term will be continuing to promote teamwork,â€ he said. â€œExpanding on efforts to inform the taxpayers will also be a priority. A third main initiative will be to encourage transparency in government.â€
The combination of success with managing the countyâ€™s funds, improving the officeâ€™s efficiency and promoting teamwork will be vital to the future, he said, because the challenging economy will require continued improvement.
â€œWith the economy faltering, a big challenge for the office will be doing more with less,â€ he said.
In every year Rickert has served as County Treasurer, his office has remained under budget, he said.
â€œDue to the cost-saving measures implemented during my tenure, the Treasurer’s Office was able to comply with both a mid-year budget reduction and an end-of-year budget reduction that was mandated by the County Board,â€ he said.
For Kovanic, who has a 25-year career in the private financial sector, the impacts of the difficult economy led to his decision to run for office.
â€œDuring the summer of ’09, I read several times in the newspapers and Finance Committee minutes how the incumbent treasurer, Mr. Rickert, fought against his budget being cut by the County Board,â€ he said. â€œIn my opinion, given the current economic environment, all governmental departments should cut their budgets without an argument. If the taxpayers of the county need to tighten their belts to make ends meet, then so should government.â€
He said that, at the time, he realized that if he were in office, he would not need to be told to cut his budget.
â€œI also thought to myself, â€˜Why would any fiscally responsible elected official have to be told to cut their budget?â€™ I would certainly always do my best to save the taxpayer’s money,â€ he said.
Kovanic said his real-world experience would help him accomplish that goal of saving taxpayerâ€™s money.â€
Kovanicâ€™s experience follows a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Bradley University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School. He served as a CFO and partner at TriMark Marlinn from 1984-2001, a senior financial analysit at Parmalat Bakery in 2002-03, a controller at PLM International from 2003-05, CFO at ReView Video from 2005-08, and is currently the owner of Padgett Business Services.
â€œI have 25 years of proven real world business experience working for profitable companies and making them better,â€ Kovanic said. â€œI am always searching for ways to improve operating efficiencies, not only with my own ideas but tapping into the true experts, the employees actually performing the daily tasks.â€
Kovanic said he would improve the office by upgrading the Treasurer Officeâ€™s use of the Internet, improving office efficiencies and investing taxpayer dollars inside the county.
â€œ(I would) use Cook County’s website as an example of what Kane County should have,â€ Kovanic said. â€œThe Kane County Treasurer’s website does not make it easy to find out where to pay your taxes or how to use the Internet; this must be updated.â€
He said that while he does not have a working knowledge of the procedures currently used within the Treasurerâ€™s Office, he feels confident he can improve its efficiency.
â€œIf the website is so outdated, I can assume the procedures are as well,â€ he said. â€œThis is where my years of experience improving office efficiency can be very beneficial to the Treasurer’s Office.â€
Kovanic said if elected, he would end the practice of investing taxpayer dollars outside of Kane County.
â€œI believe all taxpayers funds should be wisely invested within Kane County,â€ he said.
The biggest challenge facing the office is collecting property taxes, Kovanic said. To overcome that challenge, Kovanic suggests modernizing the website so that taxpayers can research where and how to pay their property taxes.
â€œLet’s make it easy for taxpayers to pay their tax online either through EFT, credit card, debit card, etc.,â€ he said.
If elected, Kovanic said he will not allow politics to influence his decision making.
â€œHonesty and working hard for the people of Kane County is the quickest and easiest way to gain the public’s trust,â€ Kovanic said. â€œI will work for the people of the county, doing what is best for them and not make decisions based upon was it best for the next electionâ€.