Illinois Comptroller

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The Comptroller of Illinois is an elected official of the U.S. state of Illinois. He or she is responsible for maintaining the State's accounts, and for ordering payments into and out of them. The office was created by the Illinois Constitution of 1970, replacing the office of Auditor of Public Accounts.

The Comptroller of Illinois was Judy Baar Topinka, a member of the Republican Party first elected in 2010 and subsequently re-elected in 2014 to a second four-year term. However, Topinka died unexpectedly in December 2014.[1] On December 19, Governor Pat Quinn appointed Jerry Stermer to succeed Topinka, to serve until January 12, 2015.[2]


The Comptroller is charged, by the terms of Section 17 of Article V of the Constitution of Illinois, with the duties of: (a) maintaining the central fiscal accounts of the state, and (b) ordering payments into and out of the funds held by the Treasurer of Illinois. In accordance with this duty, the Comptroller signs paychecks or grants approval to electronic payments made by the state to its employees and creditors.[3] The Comptroller is also charged, by Illinois statute, with certain additional duties. In particular, the Comptroller regulates cemeteries under the Cemetery Care Act, and is charged with the fiduciary protection of cemetery care funds used for the care and maintenance of Illinois gravesites.[4]

The Illinois Constitution provides that the comptroller must, at the time of his or her election, be a United States citizen, at least 25 years old, and a resident of the state for at least 3 years preceding the election.[3]

The Comptroller's office operates a web page describing the office's powers and duties.[5]


Some legislators have perceived a redundancy overlap between the offices of Comptroller and Treasurer, and have therefore proposed constitutional amendments to merge the two offices and earn administrative savings. For example, HJRCA 12, considered by the Illinois General Assembly in the 2008-2009 session, would merge the office of Comptroller into the office of Treasurer.[6]

In 2011, Comptroller Topinka and the Treasurer, Dan Rutherford, introduced legislation to allow voters to decide whether the offices should be merged.[7] The legislation was opposed by Michael Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, and did not become law.[8]

List of office holders[edit]

The following is an historic list of office holders for the Comptroller of Illinois and its preceding office, the Auditor of Public Accounts.[9]

Auditors of Public Accounts, Northwest Territory[edit]

Auditors of Public Accounts, Indiana Territory[edit]

  • vacant (1801-1809)

Auditors of Public Accounts, Illinois Territory[edit]

Auditors of Public Accounts, State of Illinois[edit]

# Name Political Party Term
1 Elijah C. Berry 1818-1831
2 James T. B. Stapp 1831-1835
3 Levi Davis 1835-1841
3 James Shields Democratic 1841-1843
4 William L. D. Ewing Democratic 1843-1846
5 Thomas H. Campbell 1846-1857
6 Jesse K. Dubois Republican 1857-1864
7 Orlin H. Miner 1864-1869
8 Charles E. Lippincott 1869-1877
9 Thomas B. Needles 1877-1881
10 Charles P. Swigart 1881-1889
11 Charles W. Pavey 1889-1893
12 David Gore 1893-1897
13 James S. McCullough 1897-1913
14 James J. Brady Democratic 1913-1917
15 Andrew Russell Republican 1917-1925
16 Oscar Nelson Republican 1925-1933
17 Edward J. Barrett Democratic 1933-1941
18 Arthur C. Lueder 1941-1949
19 Benjamin O. Cooper 1949-1953
20 Orville E. Hodge Republican 1953-1956
21 Lloyd Morey 1956-1957
22 Elbert S. Smith 1957-1961
23 Michael J. Howlett Democratic 1961-1973

Comptrollers, State of Illinois[edit]

# Name Political Party Term
1 George W. Lindberg Republican 1973-1977
2 Michael J. Bakalis Democratic 1977-1979
3 Roland W. Burris Democratic 1979-1991
4 Dawn Clark Netsch Democratic 1991-1995
5 Loleta A. Didrickson Republican 1995-1999
6 Dan Hynes Democratic 1999-2011
7 Judy Baar Topinka Republican 2011-2014
8 Jerry Stermer Democratic 2014-2015
9 Leslie Munger Republican 2015-


  1. ^ "Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka Dead at 70". NBC 5 Chicago, WMAQ. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Quinn names longtime aide Stermer to succeed Topinka as comptroller". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Section 3, Article V, "Constitution of Illinois", accessed April 12, 2008.
  4. ^ 760 ILCS 100/1 et seq., "Illinois Compiled Statutes", accessed April 12, 2008.
  5. ^ "Illinois State Comptroller Daniel W. Hynes", accessed April 12, 2008.Illinois State Comptroller web page
  6. ^ "House Joint Resolution - Constitutional Amendment 12". Retrieved March 8, 2009. 
  7. ^ McQueary, Kristen (December 31, 2011). "Move to Allow Vote to Merge Treasurer and Comptroller Jobs Stalls in House". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  8. ^ Wetterich, Chris (8 June 2011). "Madigan blocking merger of treasurer, comptroller's offices". The State Journal-Register. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  9. ^ History of the Office of Comptroller of Illinois