Mark Batinick: Candidate Profile
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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
Office sought: Will Auditor
Family: Married, 5 Children
Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Education, University of Illinois 1992
Civic involvement: 20 years of basketball and soccer coaching. Former Homeowner's Association President. Co-Founder and current Chairman of the Will County Liberty Club. Volunteer for several reform candidate campaigns.
Elected offices held: none
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: no
Key Issue 1
Waste: Being self-employed forces you to be efficient. When spending your own money, you are constantly seeking ways to save. This sort of mentality needs to be brought to government. Government can actually do more with less. Often times, it is just a matter of reallocating resource. I recently proposed that a local government body avoid building a new building because there are several suitable existing buildings in the area that are available for pennies on the dollar. Another example is ensuring that all capital projects are necessary and have data to confirm their need. Too often money is spent without proper due diligence. I will treat the county's money as if it is my own.
Key Issue 2
Fraud: As Auditor, I would aggressively investigate any area that is ripe for fraud. While the former Auditor uncovered many cases leading to indictments, the current Auditor has not found any. I believe we just need to look harder.
Key Issue 3
Corruption: Unethical activities are not always illegal in this state. However, the Auditor has to have the independence to bring light to unethical activities no matter who commits them. The amount of nepotism at the county is appalling. So is the flow of campaign donations between vendors and elected officials. I have a history of fighting corruption against both Democrats and Republicans. That is the type of leadership generally absent in this state.
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
Being active in the community has given me insight into the many layers of Illinois government. Too often, I have been disgusted. I have witnessed Elected Officials hold fundraisers then award no-bid contracts to donors within days. I have seen board members vote to spend millions of tax dollars on programs without doing even basic due diligence to see if the program was worthwhile. I have watched politicians give college scholarships to the children of their political friends instead of the truly needy. Even some of the ?good? politicians don?t seem to have the fortitude to stand against corruption if it comes from someone in their own party. I have spent much of my free time fighting the kind of waste, fraud, and corruption in government I mentioned earlier. I have had some success. I can point to millions of taxpayer dollars I have defended. But as a private citizen, I am limited in the amount of change I can affect. That is why I have decided to run for Will County Auditor. I want to be a full-time advocate for the taxpayer. Most importantly, I will stand against waste, fraud, and abuse no matter who is responsible for it. I would greatly appreciate your support.
If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
An aggressive, independent attitude towards rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse. I have been willing to publicly battle high ranking politicians on both sides of the aisle. I have the scares to prove it. Many politicians despise me, but most taxpayers love me.
One of the items the auditor looks at is whether county board members have filled out their economic interest statements. Do you believe as auditor you should also review whether any conflicts of interest are contained in those statements?
Economic interest statements, campaign donations, and nepotism all should be reviewed for conflicts of interest.
How would you go about improving government transparency?
Seeing a line item with a cost associated with it does not tell the whole story about government spending. While that cost may appear appropriate, it may be unnecessary in the first place. Major spending should be data driven. The "evidence" requiring the spending should be shared as well as the expenditure itself.
Are there any steps the auditor can take to improve people's comfort level in reporting abuse or misuse of county assets?
The former Auditor had an anonymous fraud hotline in place during his tenure. The incumbent removed this hotline and only replaced it recently after I began to speak out about its removal. I will keep the anonymous fraud hotline in place at all times, not just during the election cycle. I will also offer an annual cash reward, out of my own pay, to the person who is responsible for saving the county the most money annually.
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