A Crystal Lake accountant is seeking the recently vacated McHenry County auditor seat in hopes of eliminating it as an elected position.
Certified Public Accountant Nancy Gonsiorek believes the county should consider appointing an internal auditor rather than giving voters the power to choose the department's leader every four years. The move would remove the risk of an unqualified candidate being elected, she said, and would instead allow the county to vet and hire a skilled professional.
"It would be better for the county, and I think it'd be better for the taxpayers," said Gonsiorek, who dropped out of the county board race to apply for auditor. "This shouldn't be an elected job."
If chosen as auditor, Gonsiorek intends to place a binding referendum question on the fall ballot asking if the elected office should be abolished in 2020.
The office, which was run by Pam Palmer before she retired this month, is responsible for the county's auditing, reporting and record-keeping -- functions that Gonsiorek called "incompatible." Auditing duties, she said, should be kept independent from the other responsibilities, which could be better handled by the finance department.
"It's not getting rid of functions. It's reorganizing the way you do things," Gonsiorek said. "In the process of making that reorganization, I think you could find efficiencies."
County Board Chairman Jack Franks will appoint a temporary auditor to serve until the November election, when voters will choose someone to complete the last two years of Palmer's term. Gonsiorek, a former Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 board member, said she has submitted her resume to Franks, and also intends to run for the elected seat this fall to carry out her goal.
Franks said Gonsiorek's proposal, though a new concept to him, serves as a conversation starter for an idea that could help save money and professionalize the office.
"The ability to win an election and the ability to be an effective guardian against waste, fraud and abuse are not one and the same," he said. "I think this gives us an opportunity to explore alternatives."