SPRINGFIELD — William Holland, the Illinois auditor general who has shaken up Springfield for decades with his critical reports of state agency spending and performance, announced Wednesday that he is retiring at the end of the year.
Holland has served in the post since 1992 when he was first appointed to the job by the General Assembly.
Holland had a longtime, ironclad hold on his office and is known as a non-partisan, independent auditor despite previous partisan jobs in the General Assembly.
In 2014, his scathing audits of the state’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative became campaign fodder for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s election campaign.
The audits showed that Gov. Pat Quinn promised millions of dollars in state money to a series of neighborhood groups before his 2010 election. Some of the grants went to questionable recipients.
His office also issued a scathing audit of the state’s Department of Central Management Services under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration.
Holland said that audit received the “worst” pushback out of the thousands that his office had done over the year.
Holland, 63, said at a news conference in Springfield that he had long thought about retiring to spend more time with his three kids and six grandchildren.
Holland’s replacement will be appointed to a 10-year term, he said, that will start anew once Holland leaves at year-end.
He praised his employees — including the auditors who analyze every state department and various other agencies — and said his office’s success can be measured by how fair they’ve been.
“I would like to believe that the work that has been accomplished by my office by very professional people has been very fair, very accurate,” Holland said.
Holland began his governmental career in 1974 as an intern working for House Democrats. He held a variety of positions, including running the General Assembly’s office in Washington, D.C. State Senate President Philip Rock named him chief of staff for the Senate Majority staff in 1983.
Various officials issued statements praising Holland’s work and fairness.
Gov. Bruce Rauner called Holland “a true statesman and said the state is “better because of his service.”
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno said: “Despite coming from a partisan background, Bill Holland’s tenure as Auditor General has proven his loyalties lie with the people of Illinois.”