SPRINGFIELD -- Democratic state treasurer candidate Robin Kelly defended the office’s satellite facilities Friday and suggested one more might be justified in far southern Illinois.

SPRINGFIELD -- Democratic state treasurer candidate Robin Kelly defended the office’s satellite facilities Friday and suggested one more might be justified in far southern Illinois.

Speaking to The State Journal-Register editorial board, Kelly argued that the half dozen offices have saved the state money and spread the treasurer’s message across the state.

“We have saved $30,000 and counting in travel alone,” said Kelly, who now is chief of staff to Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.  "We brought people out of their homes into offices.”

That’s resulted in more accountability and more transparency, she said.

“We’ve taken programs to more places than they’ve ever been,” she said.

The treasurer’s office has satellites in Mount Vernon, Effingham, Rockford, Riverdale, Rock Island and Collinsville.

“What we have is a good amount now,” Kelly said, although she said the office could add one “way, way down” in the southern part of the state.

Kelly’s opponent, Sen. Dan Rutherford, R-Chenoa, has called the satellite offices a waste of money and vowed to close them if he is elected.

The biggest thing the public uses the satellite offices for is the treasurer’s unclaimed property program, which attempts to reunite owners with money and property long forgotten in bank accounts and deposit boxes. Kelly said having satellite offices is the reason record amounts of unclaimed property are returned.

People shouldn’t have to drive to Chicago or Springfield to deal with the treasurer’s office, she said.

“When I go around the state and I talk to people, they appreciate and they know we’re not trying to expand government,” Kelly said.

Kelly and Rutherford both have called for the offices of treasurer and comptroller to be combined. Kelly, though, said some of the savings figures people have tossed around might have to be toned down.

“We have 40 less employees than the previous administration,” she said. “(The comptroller) has fewer. I’m not sure how much more can be cut because we’ve already cut.”

At a later Statehouse news conference, Kelly promised to work with educators to develop an improved financial literacy curriculum that can be taught in public schools, as well as better training for the teachers of financial literacy programs.

 

Doug Finke can be reached at 788-1527.