Nekritz snubbed for top auditor job

A panel of state lawmakers recommended a downstate Democrat become the state's next top auditor, passing over state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat who had planned to upend her suburban life and move downstate if ultimately selected for the job.

The state Legislative Audit Commission recommended state Rep. Frank Mautino of Spring Valley for the job of auditor general. The full legislature now has to approve.

Nekritz was a finalist, but state Sen. Jim Oberweis said Mautino's longtime role on the audit commission meant he was more familiar to those making the call.

Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland has announced he'll retire at the end of the year. He held the post for decades, winning a reputation for fairness from both parties and playing a role in the impeachment trial of Rod Blagojevich.

"I think Frank has thes skill sets to get there," state Rep. Fred Crespo, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, said.

Oberweis, a Sugar Grove Republican, said he was the one vote against the recommendation. He preferred Hoffman Estates native and California resident Mary Modelski be recommended for the job along with Mautino to let the full General Assembly pick. He says Modelski had more auditing experience and fewer political connections than Mautino.

"She had a perfect background for the job," Oberweis said.

In an interview last week, Nekritz reflected about the interview process to the Daily Herald, noting it required compiling transcripts and grade point averages from college and law school.

"I haven't done this since I got my first job out of law school in 1982," she laughed.

Nekritz had been planning to move to Springfield full time if she netted the position.

"It appears to me that this is something you can't do remotely," especially starting out, she said, noting most of the office's 90 employees are based at the state Capitol complex in Springfield.

She said Holland "has really set the standard for how this job should be done," noting the next auditor general "should take a play out of his playbook in terms of independence and nonpartisanship."

Nekritz said she'd already started the process of a re-election bid, and it continues.

"We've been passing petitions like crazy," she said.

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