SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Auditor General William Holland pleaded guilty to drunken driving Thursday, paid a fine and was sentenced to a year of court supervision.
Holland appeared in Sangamon County Circuit Court just six weeks after the Illinois State Police stopped the 61-year-old's car and reported that he failed a field sobriety test.
The popular, no-nonsense officeholder declined to speak to The Associated Press, but in a statement asked for "the forgiveness of my family, friends and fellow citizens."
"In my job as auditor general, I am asked to hold people accountable for their actions," the statement said. "As a citizen, I must be held to the same standard. ... I made a mistake. I am grateful no one was hurt and no property was damaged."
Holland paid court fines and costs of $1,555, including $100 he paid the night of his arrest to be released on bond.
According to a police report, Holland was stopped at 11:43 p.m. Feb. 6. He was alone in his personal car and refused to take a breath test to measure blood-alcohol content – an automatic, one-year driver's license suspension.
But Associate Circuit Judge Rudolph Braud agreed Thursday to rescind the suspension, allowing Holland to drive while he serves court supervision.
"Because he accepted responsibility and looking at the entire facts of this case, this was the appropriate resolution," State's Attorney John Milhiser said.
Milhiser said Holland will also be required to complete 10 hours of driver's training, 12 hours of alcohol counseling and must attend a session with victims discussing the impact impaired drivers had on their lives.
Holland, who makes $150,300, was first appointed by the General Assembly in 1992 as only the second auditor general since the position was created in 1971. He was named in August to his third 10-year term.
He began his state career in 1975 as a legislative staffer and spent a decade as chief of staff to Democratic Senate President Phillip Rock of Chicago.
He's been praised for a hard-charging, impartial approach as auditor general, a position assigned the duties of reviewing the use of public funds and state government administrative practices and functions.
Often shunning the public eye, he found himself at odds with former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, calling out the now-imprisoned governor's administration for cutting corners and side-stepping rules and laws after Blagojevich took office in 2003.
Holland, explaining his numerous audit findings, played a key role in the impeachment investigation and trial of Blagojevich, who was removed from office in January 2009 and was later sentenced to a 14-year federal prison sentence for political corruption.