William "Bill" White: Candidate profile, DuPage County Auditor
Democrat William "Bill" White of Downers Grove and Republican Bob Grogan of Downers Grove are vying for DuPage County Auditor in the Nov. 3 general election.
Grogan has served as the county auditor since 2008.
White is an attorney who has served on the Downers Grove District 99 school board and on the Downers Grove Village Council.
Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
A: I am running to bring my personal experience with good government to the county level. I have participated in good government as an elected member of the District 99 school board and as an elected member of the Downers Grove Village Council.
Both District 99 and the Village of Downers Grove are well run local governments that are transparent, efficient and return genuine value to the community in exchange for our tax dollars. At the staff level, DuPage County is well run with experienced, skilled and dedicated employees.
At the political level, DuPage County is entering uncharted waters.
The combination of Bruce Rauner on the ballot in 2018 and Donald Trump on the ballot in 2020 will likely end unilateral Republican control of county government for the first time, ever.
Recall that in 2016, County Board Chair Dan Cronin was elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention, pledged to John Kasich.
In 2020, John Kasich endorsed Joe Biden at the DNC convention. These are indeed turbulent times, politically.
Starting Dec. 1, 2020, we all will need to work together to keep county government running well in circumstances none of us have experienced before.
Q: 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?
A: Illinois statutory law directs the auditor to maintain a continuous audit of operations as well as finances and therefore the role of the auditor is to advocate relentlessly for good government, which is transparent, efficient and effective.
Good government delivers meaningful results whether it's public safety or public health, stormwater management or quality transportation networks. Good government returns fair value to the community in exchange for our tax dollars.
To be an advocate for good government you must first believe in government. I have seen and participated in good government and I will advocate for good government without being the enemy of government.
I will advocate for a countywide attitude of continuous improvement, constantly seeking to improve the quality of services and programs delivered to the community and I intend to increase the number of published internal audit reports to better inform the community about county operations and to provide a framework for measuring continuous improvement.
Q: What special qualifications does a county auditor need that may not apply to other county offices? What professional qualifications or experiences do you possess that will help ensure your success as auditor?
A: While the auditor can investigate and report, the office has limited ability to act.
Therefore, an effective elected auditor must work well with others and be a consensus builder, especially today in light of challenging political realities.
As a lawyer, I have decades of professional experience advising clients regarding decisions they must make, keeping in mind that the client has ownership of the final decision.
I have decades of experience and a proven track record of facilitating consensus among decision-makers in governmental settings.
As chair of the Downers Grove zoning board, I spent years forging consensus among board members during deliberations. I was chair of a citizen's committee that significantly updated the Downers Grove comprehensive plan resulting in unanimous approval of an award-winning Comp Plan.
I brought my consensus building skills to the District 99 board of education (as board president I worked closely with the superintendent) and to the Downers Grove Village Council (as mayor pro tem I worked closely with the mayor and village manager).
My diverse experience in various government roles blends well with my proven track record of facilitating consensus.
Q: To what extent must an auditor remain independent of other county offices and officials, and how will you ensure the appropriate level of independence in this office?
A: The auditor must be independent from other county officials while simultaneously maintaining a close working relationship with every county official, regardless of political party.
To accomplish this, I must always remember that every elected official represents the citizens who voted for that official and that every elected office is entitled to equal respect, regardless of political party.
This requires that we always remember that our highest loyalties are owed to our community and that we are tasked with providing good government -- government that is transparent, efficient and effective and which returns genuine value back to the community.
As I said in a previous answer, at the staff level, DuPage County is well run with experienced, skilled and dedicated employees. I am committed to supporting an environment where staff can work as professionals, free of politically motivated micromanagement.
Q: Describe your position regarding the allocation of resources in the auditor's office. Are personnel allocated as they should be? Are there capital expense or other budgetary items that the office must address, and, if so, how do you propose to address them?
A: In January 2020, before the primary, I answered this question as follows: "I am confident that I can accomplish my objectives as county auditor within the current budget framework." Of course, this was pre-COVID and I am aware that the county faces a significant revenue shortfall heading into the next fiscal year. Shared sacrifice may be required from all departments and I will be closely following the county board budget discussions for the upcoming fiscal year.