Dillon must clean up issues, refocus on state work, position

When you’re one of the folks entrusted to jingle the change in Michigan’s pocketbook, there’s not much leeway for being in a situation where you look like you’re all thumbs.

State Treasurer Andy Dillon is in such a scenario right now. According to Gannett Michigan reports, Dillon’s campaign fund has a six-figure differential in its balance between what the Department of State says it has on file and what Dillon said was in the account – $27 – in a 2012 affidavit in which he asked the state to close the account. Dillon, whom Gov. Rick Snyder appointed head of the state treasury, ran for governor in 2010 and apparently still has his team sorting out three-year-old campaign issues this summer.

Dillon’s campaign treasurer told Paul Egan of The Detroit Free Press that his camp has fingered the root of the problem: It’s a software incompatibility between what the state uses and what his team uses. Glitch happens, in other words.

Fair enough. Anybody who has used computers knows that they are fickle entities. They only do the best they can with the information they’re given. No questions; no follow-up; no analysis. Not their job.

But it’s the job of the state treasurer to handle money, and Dillon’s efforts with his campaign funds leave something to be desired.

To resolve all doubt, Dillon ought to take the lead in resolving the matter by delivering the Department of State his campaign bank information and leave no question as to the standing of his campaign account. At this late juncture, no other resolution seems sensible for the guy the governor tapped to be his wallet wizard.

This is not the first issue with Dillon’s political accounts. According to the Free Press, the treasurer of Dillon’s political action committee missed routine filing deadlines this summer. The state issued fines in that matter. The state also allowed Dillon to close out his state representative fund in April despite an $8,900 discrepancy between its balance sheet and what its treasurer said was in the fund.

Snyder, who campaigned for the state’s highest office as a self-styled “tough nerd,” is a certified public accountant and well-established business authority as the former CEO of Gateway Inc. In office, in the interest of transparency about the route in which this state is headed, he has pledged he would maintain an online “dashboard” about the status of vital state measures.

Following that lead, his administration has rightly called on Dillon to rectify his campaign finance situation. There ought to be no further delays or issues in balancing the books for years-old political funds maintained on behalf of a key state financial official.

Dillon has his hands on millions and millions of state dollars in the form of investments and other entities. He seems to have a firm grasp on his responsibilities as a handler of the public dough, though he needs to show he has a grasp on his own campaign money as well. The public deserves nothing less from one of its chief money handlers.

Michiganders ought to expect that they have leaders who are focused on tackling the challenges of the present and seizing the opportunities of the future – not on resolving questions about an unsuccessful run for office three summers ago.