Rutherford vows to close state treasurer's regional offices


SPRINGFIELD -- Dan Rutherford, the Republican nominee for state treasurer, pledged Thursday to eliminate all of the treasurer’s regional offices if elected, although he conceded that doing so would not save much money.

“I see no value in these satellite offices,” Rutherford said in a meeting with The (Springfield) State Journal-Register’s editorial board. “Everything they do in that (satellite) office can be done online. There’s nothing that those satellite offices do that can’t be done in a different way.

Rutherford, a state senator from Chenoa who works at ServiceMaster Company, said the savings would be “negligible.”

However, he said, “I believe the public of Illinois expects its government to run as efficient as possible. These are things that they can see.”

Rutherford’s Democratic opponent, Robin Kelly, a former member of the Illinois House and current state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias’ chief of staff, has pledged to keep the satellite offices open. She also has said she might open a second southern Illinois office.

The treasurer’s office has satellites in Mount Vernon, Effingham, Rockford, Riverdale, Rock Island and Collinsville. Kelly said they saved $30,000 annually in travel money.

“Well, then, it tells me your travel policy was wrong,” Rutherford said.

Expanding or creating new programs in the treasurer’s office would not be a priority, Rutherford said. Instead, he said, he would focus on the office’s core function, which he says is investing the state’s money in a lucrative, but safe way. Rutherford said he would appoint a volunteer committee to audit the office and determine which programs should stay and which ones should go.

Rutherford said he is prepared to cut 10 percent from the office’s budget if state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, is elected governor. Brady has said he will cut a dime of every dollar from every area of state government.

“I’m a business guy. We’ll figure out how to do it,” said Rutherford, who said he would look at ways to wring efficiencies out of the office, cut down on the purchase of commodities and reduce travel.

Chris Wetterich can be reached at 788-1523.