Gov. Pat Quinn Friday announced the appointment of state Budget Director Jerry Stermer as Illinois comptroller following the unexpected passing of Judy Baar Topinka.
Stermer will serve as comptroller on an interim basis to ensure that state operations continue uninterrupted and will resign from the post on Jan. 12.
“The sudden passing of Judy Baar Topinka left a hole in the hearts of the people of Illinois,” Quinn said. “While no one can replace Judy Baar Topinka, government must continue. Jerry Stermer is a respected and experienced budget expert who will carry out the duties of comptroller with integrity and heart.”
The appointment follows the governor’s call for legislators to reconvene in Springfield on Jan. 8 to pass legislation that will allow voters to fill the elected position of Illinois comptroller. While the appointment of Stermer is effective immediately, the position of Illinois comptroller is an elected position and a special election will give voters the opportunity to choose their comptroller in the next statewide election on Nov. 8, 2016. The primary election is scheduled for March 15, 2016.
Stermer will work closely with Judy Baar Topinka’s longtime chief of staff, Nancy Kimme, and other key members of her administration to ensure that state operations continue uninterrupted.
Stermer most recently served as director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. He joined Quinn’s staff in February 2009 and has served as a senior adviser to the governor for many years. Stermer has played a key role in the state budget for many years and helped pass major legislation including stabilizing the pension systems and restructuring the state’s Medicaid program.
Before joining the governor’s staff, Stermer was the president of Voices for Illinois Children, which he led since its founding in 1987 until 2009.
Stermer, 71, was born in Minnesota and raised in Elmhurst, Ill. He spent 10 years studying for the priesthood with the Society of the Divine Word order of the Catholic Church. He taught Catholic school for a year on Chicago’s South Side. Stermer received his master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago after studying political science and public administration. He received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa. He served seven years at the Department of Children and Family Services under governors of both parties and served in the Peace Corps for two years.
Stermer has served as an adjunct faculty member for Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy since 2002. He resides in Evanston with his wife, Nancy.