Mike Kroll gunning for City Treasurer
by Norm Winick
Long-time Zephyr reporter and columnist and computer-whiz Mike Kroll announced Wednesday that he is a candidate for Galesburg City Treasurer.
"I have lived in Galesburg for nearly 25 years and have adopted this community as my hometown," said Kroll in a press release. "For much of that time I have taken a special interest in local government and sadly watched Galesburg suffer through continuous hard economic times even as other parts of the country were enjoying prosperity. One defining characteristic of Galesburg citizens has always been that we continue to struggle on and refuse to give up despite apparently long odds. Today our community is facing some of its biggest challenges ever and I want to play a larger, more direct role in steering Galesburg to a better, brighter future. That is why I am running for City Treasurer."
Kroll says that the City Treasurer's job should be much more than going to the bank. "The responsibilities have been absorbed by the City's appointed Finance Department and the legally required checks and balances between elected officials just isn't there."
He added that he is "committed to the core public service principals of transparency, accountability, service and courtesy." "Voters expect and deserve an active and engaged city treasurer who not only assures safety and accuracy in handling city funds but also advocates on behalf of city residents and taxpayers."
When asked if his outspoken views might put him at odds with the City administration upon taking office, Kroll responded: "Given my stance that the city finance department is far less than forthcoming in sharing financial data with the public or even elected officials you might think that I will go into the treasurer's office in immediate conflict with the finance department. I am committed to transparency and accountability and the public's right to know and that also happens to be the law in Illinois. I believe that state statute leaves very few aspects of municipal finance beyond the purview of the general public and no city financial records should be inaccessible to the city treasurer for the purpose of monitoring accounts or developing reports. I intend to work in partnership with city staff and the city council but independently. I am committed to working toward the best value for the taxpayers and residents of Galesburg and to that end will advocate cooperation but I will not be anyone's political lapdog."
"In recent years the city has attempted to redefine the treasurer's office to solely handling deposits into the city bank accounts. While this is indeed an important part of the treasurer's job it is by no means the full extent of that job. The most valuable service I believe a city treasurer must perform on behalf of the taxpayers and residents is to be a watchdog on the city's financial picture presenting reports and analysis that inform the public and help elected officials make sound decisions."