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Bruce Rauner announces Topinka replacement

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner announced on Monday his pick to replace the late Judy Baar Topinka as comptroller as he urged a merging of two constitutional offices.

Rauner will appoint Leslie Geissler Munger of Lincolnshire on Monday — the same day he will be sworn in as governor. Munger is a onetime category director for Helene Curtis/Unilever and a former assistant brand manager at Procter & Gamble.

“I am deeply honored to become Illinois’ next comptroller and humbly look forward to serving all the people of Illinois,” Munger said in a statement. “I’ll be a guardian of their money and a watchdog for Illinois’ finances. Our state is in terrible financial shape, and I’ll do everything I can to help turn things around.”

Munger had run unsuccessfully for state representative last year. In an announcement from the Rauner transition team, Munger said she is behind a so-called “Judy amendment” which would merge the offices of Illinois comptroller and that of Illinois treasurer. Topinka had backed the merging of the two offices herself.

Rauner’s announcement comes as lawmakers are to meet in Springfield this week after Gov. Pat Quinn called a special session to take up the prospect of holding a special election in 2016 for the position of Illinois comptroller.

Topinka died suddenly last year after she was re-elected to her office but before she was sworn in.

“No one can ever replace Judy Baar Topinkia, but Leslie is the perfect candidate to continue building on Judy’s legacy,” Rauner said in a statement. “Leslie has always been laser-focused on fiscal and economic issues, and as comptroller, she will do everything within her power to help fix our state’s broken finances.”