Vacancy Election Plan Goes Beyond Comptroller Post
A measure has been filed that would prompt a special election in 2016 for Illinois Comptroller. The vacancy created in the office following the death of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka in December exposed what some say is a weak spot in Illinois Constitution, as Topinka was set to begin a new, four-year term. The legislation would put in place a new method that would limit the length of gubernatorial appointments to fill such openings.
When Topinka suddenly died last month, it didn't just leave a vacancy in the Illinois comptroller's office. It also set in motion an effort to change the law of succession for several statewide offices.
Legislators on Thursday are to meet for a special session. Gov. Pat Quinn called them back to Springfield to consider holding an election for comptroller two years early, in 2016. The rationale behind the idea is that voters should get to decide who should hold office at the next reasonable opportunity, rather than having someone who was appointed comptroller stay on for Topinka's entire four-year term.
A measure, an amendment to House Bill 4576, filed by Senate President John Cullerton goes beyond that, though. It'd also create a new procedure for vacancies in the offices of Comptroller, Attorney General, Secretary of State and Treasurer.
The governor would still fill the vacancies - but if there are more than 28 months left in the term, the appointment would only last until the next general election.
Illinois' incoming treasurer is promoting an alternative to holding a special election for a new comptroller in 2016. Mike Frerichs says Illinois should eliminate the comptroller's office entirely at that point, and let him, as treasurer, take over the duties.
Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner on Monday announced that he is appointing Lincolnshire resident Leslie Munger, who ran but lost a race for state representative in November, as the next comptroller. Rauner touts Munger's experience as a business executive.