Winnebago County Board appoints Roscoe's Steve Schultz as new Chief Financial Officer


Steve Schultz

Steve Schultz, a veteran financial manager and long-time county trustee from Roscoe, has been appointed Chief Financial Officer for Winnebago County.

Last month, David Rickert vacated the CFO role, after serving for a little more than two years. Rickert will now be paid $258,600 a year to become executive officer for Shasta County, California, according to the Record-Searchlight in Redding, California.

Upon Rickert's announcement, the Winnebago County Board selection committee made a national search and, according to a statement, "reviewed several applications from qualified candidates." After the search, County Administrator Patrick Thompson recommended the appointment of Steve Schultz to the position of Chief Financial Officer. The appointment was approved on Thursday evening, June 8, 2023 by the Winnebago County Board, and Schultz immediately began his new role.

From 2008 until 2022, for four terms, Schultz represented District 3 on the Winnebago County Board. He served on the Board's Finance Committee for more than 13 years. In 2022, Winnebago County Board Chairman Joe Chiarelli was one of those who approached Schultz about running for County Treasurer, challenging incumbent Sue Goral, who has held that office since 1999. Though Schultz got most of the votes in the heavily-Republican precincts outside of Rockford, Goral won re-election by less than a percentage point, along with other Democratic candidates.

In his previous career, Schultz managed Converge Cornerstone Fund, now merged with Wesleyan Investment Foundation. His employer, the Baptist denomination Converge, represents 1,500 churches across the country. During Schultz's 32-year career there, the value of the funds he managed increased from $47 to $540 million. In college, Schultz majored in business with an emphasis in accounting and finance. Later he passed the CPA exam and earned a MBA degree.

“Steve’s familiarity with the inner workings of County government will lend itself well to his success in this new role,” said Winnebago County Administrator Patrick Thompson. “That, paired with his professional background, made him the clear choice for the job, and I look forward to working with him in preparing our annual operating and capital budget.”

The County's Finance Department is responsible for budgeting, purchasing, calculating annual levy requests, developing financial policies and long-range financial plans, assisting outside legal counsel with union negotiations, and issuing bonds for capital projects.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the County in a new way,” Schultz said. “This is a chance to collaborate across many departments, and I am hopeful for how I can contribute to the work being done in Winnebago County in a positive way.”

One of the departments Schultz will be collaborating with: the County Treasurer's office. As a candidate for that position, Schultz promised to increase the return on the County's investments, which he said were earning only about $75 thousand a year when the market rate was $4 million a year.

“Mr. Schultz will make an excellent addition to our County administration and we will lean into his extensive experience as we navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” said Winnebago County Board Chairman Joe Chiarelli. “I am eager to work with him as we prioritize our capital improvement plan and other initiatives to continually improve the economic outlook of Winnebago County.”

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