DuPage County auditor candidates spar over qualifications

Both candidates for DuPage County auditor are trying to make a case for why their opponent shouldn't serve in the position.

Michelle Gale, a Glendale Heights Democrat, is challenging Republican incumbent Bob Grogan of Downers Grove in the November general election.

During an endorsement interview this week with the Daily Herald editorial board, Gale said she would bring an independent perspective to the position, which evaluates and reports on county operations.

“A Republican-dominated county government should not have a Republican who is a very central part of their organization auditing them,” said Gale, referring to Grogan.

Meanwhile, Grogan said he's highly qualified for the position he's held since 2008. He questioned whether Gale could do the job.

Grogan said that looking out for fraud, waste and abuse in county government is “a skill position.”

“It's for people who actually understand accounting — people who understand how to do auditing,” Grogan said. “That's my skill set. I'm a CPA and a certified fraud examiner. I've been in auditing for quite some time.”

He said he has experience in the private sector and in government. He has audited government entities, pension plans and nonprofits.

If county auditor was an appointed position, Grogan said he doesn't know if anyone would hire Gale with her qualifications.

“Because when you are hiring an auditor, you want someone with an auditing background,” Grogan said.

As a nonprofit director and co-editor of numerous books on economics, Gale says she has the skills to serve as the county auditor.

“We need to have greater accountability, greater transparency,” Gale said. “I come from a background where accountability and transparency is absolutely essential.”

She said she believes an outsider is needed to achieve those goals.

If fact, she said it would be ideal if someone with no political affiliation were appointed — not elected — to the auditor position.

As it stands now, Gale said the auditor job “is way too political.”

“I'm not saying that getting a Democrat in this position will be any better than having a Republican, except for the fact that a Democrat at least will be an outsider,” Gale said.

However, she said she does think Grogan is too political. He is chairman of the Downers Grove Township Republican Organization.

Grogan responded by saying that he follows professional standards. He said his political involvement has no influence on his role as auditor.

“I said ‘no' to innumerable Republicans, as well as nonpartisan staff,” said Grogan, adding the office calls out “bad activities” all the time.

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