Republican candidate for state treasurer Bob Grogan said that if he's elected, he won't use the office as a "way station" en route to a higher office.The current state treasurer, Republican Dan Rutherford, is running for governor.Being treasurer "is neither a consolation prize nor a stepping stone. It's what I do," Grogan told The State Journal-Register editorial board Tuesday.In his second term as DuPage County auditor, Grogan, 45, lives in Downers [...]

Republican candidate for state treasurer Bob Grogan said that if he's elected, he won't use the office as a "way station" en route to a higher office.

The current state treasurer, Republican Dan Rutherford, is running for governor.

Being treasurer "is neither a consolation prize nor a stepping stone. It's what I do," Grogan told The State Journal-Register editorial board Tuesday.

In his second term as DuPage County auditor, Grogan, 45, lives in Downers Grove and is a certified public accountant and a certified fraud examiner.

One of his objectives as treasurer would be to improve transparency by making financial information the office releases more accessible, he said, adding that it's not enough to just publish information for public inspection.

"You have to put (financial information) up there in a way that people can find it and understand it," Grogan said. "That's the real secret to doing it well, and that takes an eye of someone who understands how these pieces all fit together."

Another objective would be to use existing programs in the treasurer's office to their fullest potential. He mentioned streamlining of the treasurer's I-Cash programs that help connect people with unclaimed property or assets they didn't know they were entitled to.

He said he's heard people on the campaign trail say the 10- to 12-week turnaround time is too long, so he would steer money from the program's marketing budget to its operations to expedite the process.

Rutherford has been criticized for making numerous trips statewide touting the program, something Grogan said isn't prudent given the fiscal problems in Illinois.

Some suggest a way to save money would be to combine the offices of comptroller and treasurer, which Grogan favors.

"I think honestly if it came for a vote to the floor of the House or the Senate, it could pass unanimously," he said.

Grogan's opponent in the March 18 GOP primary, state Rep. Tom Cross, recently said he would use the treasurer's office more aggressively and that he thought the office had the legal standing to sue the General Assembly to balance the state's budget.

Grogan disagreed, saying, "Only a career politician would think you can sue your way out of a fiscal crisis."

He said he's spoken with attorneys who feel that would have to be carried out by the attorney general, not the treasurer. The treasurer's office, he said, can "be a bully pulpit, but not a bully."

Grogan said there's no one solution to the state's fiscal problems, including the backlog of unpaid bills.

"We've gotten into this mess, in my opinion, by making a thousand bad decisions," he said. "The only way to get out of it is to make a thousand good ones."

Grogan said the best way to deal with the state's bills is for the governor and General Assembly to "live within their means and pay those down over time."

Grogan said his being a social conservative won't lessen his chances against the more moderate Cross because he's running for treasurer on his record as a CPA and fraud examiner. He said he never brings up social issues because they will have nothing to do with his job as treasurer.

Grogan acknowledged his primary opponent has better name recognition and that Cross will far outspend him, but he's not worried.

"The big-money person doesn't always win," he said. "I've been a precinct committeeman for 16 years, and I haven't been walking precincts for all that time to think it goes to the highest bidder."

Nor does Grogan think Cross is better qualified.

Cross, an attorney, recently said that being a CPA doesn't mean Grogan's fit for the office.

"If you were hiring a treasurer for any business, I would actually get an interview. My opponent would not. Neither of them would," Grogan said, referring also to state Sen. Michael Frerichs of Champaign, who is running in the Democratic primary for treasurer unopposed.