Having passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly unanimously, House Bill 5503 seems headed to the statue books.
Sponsored by State Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Rochelle) and State Senator Michael Connelly (R-Wheaton), the bill will require county governments to make any management letter available to all county and municipal board members within sixty days of the completion of the audit.
Somehow I can’t imagine that city councilmen, aldermen, village trustees and county board members don’t get copies of audits and management letters, but I suppose that some top officials might not want to share the contents of management letters with board opponents.
That could provide ammunition in future elections.
More importantly, the bill provides that both management letters and audits be posted on the web site of any county or municipality that maintains a web site.
With the beginning of publication of management letters, I’m betting that they will become less specific and that more information will be provided verbally, rather than being put in writing.
I hope that next on Rep. Demmer’s and Sen. Connelly’s agenda will be similar legislation for junior colleges. Perhaps local legislators State Senators Pam Althoff, Dan Duffy and Karen McConnaughay, plus State Reps. Jack Franks, Mike Tryon, David McSweeney and Barb Wheeler will also take an interest.
McHenry County College hid behind a Freedom of Information exception to keep its 2013 management letter secret.
It spent twice as much time in secret session on its management letter last October as on the audit in open session. See
Behind closed doors the Board was told of “internal control weakness, fraud and suspected fraud,” among other things.
But the public could not be trusted to hear the details.