2012 election candidate questionnaire: George Danos, Champaign County auditor
1411 Mayfair Rd., Champaign
Date of Birth: 12/02/1964
Post-Baccalaureate, Alternative Route to Teacher Certification Program, Eastern Illinois University. (June 2009)
M.S., Actuarial Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 1999
B.A., Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, January 1997
Occupation: Math instructor doing substitute teaching in Urbana; former financial analyst at Christie Clinic and PersonalCare.
Political experience: First run for office.
1. What makes you better qualified than your opponent to be county auditor?
I have relevant education and private-sector experience, which includes forecasting, reporting, auditing and the financial modeling of large contracts — the last of which is sure to be of value as the fate of the nursing home and the jail are to be decided in the next auditor's term.
2. Are there any significant changes you expect to immediately make in the office once elected?
The first order of business is to hire, without any partisan preconditions whatsoever, a replacement for the recently retired chief deputy auditor, Carol Wadleigh, whose 32-year tenure resulted in back-to-back awards for excellence in reporting for the Champaign County auditor's office. Another short-term goal will be to place the county's checkbook online, so that interested taxpayers can track our expenses with user-friendly drop-down searches and useful .pdf outputs.
3. Do you view your role with the county board as collaborative or combative?
Ultimately, the board and the auditor work for a common purpose, which is the good of the county. A strong, effective watchdog provides objective oversight and unhesitatingly points out mistakes or wrongdoing, but does so without rancor or settling scores.
4. Do you expect to be a regular at county board meetings to explain bills and spending, or will you be there only when requested?
I absolutely plan on attending county board meetings on a regular basis, just as I do now as a candidate. The county board must be free to direct completely impromptu questions to the auditor when it is in session. Budgets everywhere are under pressure, and lawmaking bodies need to be able to ask detailed knowledge of the budget in real time.
5. Are you making any promises about how much time you will spend in the office? Do you think it is necessary to be in the office 37 or 40 hours a week, or do you think you can do your work from home?
The auditor's salary is $86,328 per year and is a full-time job. The people of Champaign County can fully expect me be to working in the office full-time performing functions I've done before and delight in. Moreover, the office has enough challenges to keep any conscientious auditor quite busy. To supervise the staff and confer with other department heads requires the auditor to do his job on site — no question.
6. Having reviewed the office and its duties, do you expect to ask for a budget increase, a budget cut or a budget similar to the current one?
For the near term, I expect to ask for a budget similar to the current one. Certain projects do not incur a lot of expense, e.g., the placing of the county checkbook online. In the intermediate term, however, the office will need to update the accounting software, which I will do in consultation with the county administrator and chief accounting manager in the most cost-effective manner possible.
7. Do you have a role model, in Illinois or elsewhere, for the way you like to run your office?
I do. When Laurel Prussing was auditor, she set the standard to which I aspire.
8. Do you think the auditor's office has been run well, or have there been significant flaws in its operation in recent years?
There is no question there have been significant flaws and that is why I chose to run for this office. The voters chose to keep the office elected rather than appointed, so I want to reinvigorate the office in terms of its morale, its reporting excellence, and its overall orientation to serve the county.