Lawmakers gets nod from bipartisan panel on 11-1 vote
By Mark Fitton
Illinois News Network
SPRINGFIELD — If confirmed by the Legislature, a longtime state representative from Bureau County will be the state’s next auditor general.
Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, is the choice of the Legislative Audit Commission, the bipartisan panel of lawmakers charged with selecting a finalist to recommend to the full General Assembly.
“I just got the phone call from the audit commission, and it is a tremendous honor … the greatest honor of my life,” Mautino said Tuesday afternoon.
Mautino will require a three-fifths vote in each chamber of the General Assembly for appointment and would receive a 10-year term if selected.
Mautino has served in the House since 1991 and been a deputy majority leader since 2011. He was member of the Legislative Audit Commission for 18 years before resigning from the panel this summer to submit his application for auditor.
He said the phone call Tuesday made him think of his late father, Richard “Dick” Mautino, a Spring Valley Democrat who served in the House from 1975 until his death in 1991.
“I was just thinking about that the other day,” Mautino said. “There’s been a Mautino on the floor of the House since January of 1975.”
Mautino said he’s deeply appreciative of support from both voters and his peers in the Legislature.
Mautino, 53, is a 1985 graduate of Illinois State University, where he majored in marketing. He and his wife, Lena, have three children.
The other finalists before the audit commission were State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, attorney Larry Sanders of Marion and Mary Modelski, a Hoffman Estates native who is now an auditor for Alameda County, California.
Mautino’s nomination likely will go before the House and the Senate later this month or in November.
The auditor general’s job pays about $152,000 per year. Mautino currently earns a state legislator’s base pay of about $67,800 per year, plus a leadership stipend of about $19,800.
He got the nod from the Legislative Audition Commission on an 11-1 vote. The 12-member panel is split equally between Democrats and Republicans, representatives and senators.
The lone opposition vote came from state Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove.
“Mary Modelski was clearly the most highly qualified candidate from a professional and auditing point of view,” Oberweis said.
While Mautino has serious political qualifications, Oberweis said he’d prefer an outsider with heavy-duty auditing credentials.
And while he doesn’t intend to lobby against Mautino, Oberweis said he probably would rise to speak about why he thinks an outsider, specifically Modelski, would be the better choice.
State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, works often with Mautino, who is the state representative for the western part of her district.
While they differ on budget matters as one might expect, Rezin said she and Mautino work well together on local issues.
“We do have a good working relationship, and I’m very proud of our legislative record together,” said Rezin, adding she will support Mautino for the auditor’s position.
William Holland, the current auditor general, announced in June that he would retire at the end of the year. Then a staff member for Senate Democrats, Holland took office in 1992 and built a reputation for integrity in a state known for partisan, rough and sometimes corrupt politics.
The auditor general is the Illinois constitutional officer charged with reviewing state agencies financial records, their performance and their compliance with state and federal laws. The office issues about 150 reports per year.
If Mautino is selected as auditor, the remainder of his current, two-year term would be filled by weighted of vote of the Democratic county chairmen in the 76th District, which includes all or parts of Bureau, LaSalle, Livingston and Putnam counties.
The 2016 general election race for that seat could be a hot one. Although the Spring Valley Democrat was returned to Springfield a dozen times, his 2014 margin of victory over Republican Jerry Long of Streator was tight — about 330 votes among more than 34,000 cast.