As background, I served on the Legislative Audit Commission during my eight years in the Illinois House in the 1970’s. I have read literally hundreds of management letters.
They contained what auditors have found that needs improvement in various agencies.
It was common for new directors to admit that the irregularities or illegalities occurred during their predecessors’ terms, but to promise that they would not be repeated.
As you might guess, two years later similar irregularities or illegalities were again reported.
The auditing firm Sikich made its report to the McHenry County College Board at its Committee of the Whole meeting last Tuesday.
During the public comment period I noted that the management letter was not posted on the college’s meeting page.
President Vicky Smith noted that it did not have to be made public under the Freedom of Information Act.
(That night I filed such a request and got a fast rejection.)
The Board immediately went into secret session using a part of the Open Meetings Act that used the words “internal control weakness, fraud and suspected fraud.”
(In fairness, there were undoubtedly other phrases used, but the person reading them read so fast those were the only words I could pick up.)
The Board was behind closed doors for forty minutes.
This compares with twenty minutes spent in open session.
Then, Auditor Fred Lance presented the public part of the auditing process.
In a rapidly given presentation, he praised the financial operation, saying his firm had issued “a clean opinion.”
MCC shared some distinction which only seventy community colleges in the nation have achieved.
Lance mentioned that the college had “$11 million put aside for future capital purposes,” which he though praiseworthy.
He mentioned that MCC was “converting short-term assets to long-term capital assets.”
Receipts, if I understood him correctly, increased $4.3 million more than expenses during the year audited.
“It’s a very, very positive report,” Lance concluded.
Trustee Chris Jenner asked about restrictions placed on the Education Fund.
“So, we can levy property taxes in the Education Fund and spend them to build buildings?” he asked.
In a lengthy, but rapidly spoken response, the operative word “Yes” came at the end of his sentence.