These responses were submitted by Libertarian Lex Green, who faces Republican County Treasurer Rebecca McNeil. The questionnaire was prepared by GLT in partnership with the League of Women Voters of McLean County. See more candidate responses.
What in your professional experience qualifies you to be County Treasurer?
My experience includes eight years as an officer of the Libertarian Party of Illinois, including four years as Chair, and ten years as an officer of the McLean County Libertarian Party, including four years as Treasurer, and two campaigns for public office. My campaigns were focused on financial issues and required a solid knowledge of the respective budgets and CAFRs to make realistic suggestions for responsible policy recommendations. As an elected position, the County Treasurer needs to know the budget process, but also needs to work with staff to make sure all duties are performed in compliance with law and the policies of the County Board. My experience managing people, coupled with my understanding of budgeting, will serve me well as your elected Treasurer.
Last fall, the county had to close a $1.5 million budget gap — a deficit that led to an early retirement program and other cuts. What would you do as Treasurer to help policymakers make informed budget decisions should revenues remain tight in future years?
The very reason I am running is to bring the Libertarian perspective to all aspects of County Board activities. It is important to point out where cuts can be made, even if there is a surplus. The error of almost all governmental bodies to promote policies that maximize revenues, instead of cutting spending. Tax money is taken from taxpayers who trust us to be responsible with their money. But the general welfare is best served when people can keep their earnings and spend how they see fit. The County Board, as with all governmental units, needs to be constantly reminded that handling public money is a duty that must be done with solemn respect for the hard work of citizens who provide it, whether times are good or bad.
What is a function provided by the Treasurer’s office that is especially well-managed? What is a service provided by the Treasurer’s office where you see room for improvement or innovation?
The budget process is handled very well by the current Treasurer and her staff. I think the staff are doing an adequate job at all of the duties of the office. With technological advancements, we need to make sure we are making tax payments as easy as possible for residents of McLean County. I will keep an eye out for ways to utilize smart phones and other emerging technologies as they become available. If necessary, I would work with state legislators to make such innovations available to taxpayers under state statute. I would also try to make all fees and charges to taxpayers as small as is possible under state statute and county law.
The county has an Auditor. But what measures should the Treasurer’s office use to help detect financial mismanagement or fraud?
Both the County Auditor and outside auditors are utilized to make sure that funds are managed efficiently and ethically. I will be vigilant in making sure everyone in the Treasurer's office maintains that focus in all activities.
How would you evaluate whether the county is well-served by its investment policy?
Investment policy should focus on safety and liquidity of funds as its primary objectives, seek to maximize return, and operate within the confines of the law. The results of last year's investments show that over $600k was earned on Cash Accounts of over $40M, representing an increase in returns over 2016. There were sufficient funds to cover fund transfers. My feeling is that the county is served well by the current investment policy. I would not seek to change that policy unless it is expected that equity markets will suffer setbacks in the future.