Huntley School Forensic Auditor Challenged by Audit Promoter Larry Snow

Huntley School District 158 has finally given the media a summary of the forensic audit.

Well, it gave some of the media the report. McHenry County Blog didn’t get a copy. Maybe no one could find the email address down to the lower right.

Maybe I’ll have to file another Freedom of Information request. That’ll mean I get it in two weeks.

Snow finds many flaws with the work of the firm, Jefferson Wells, which has been heard advertising for more business on WBBM radio.

I’ll bet they don’t use Snow as a reference.

Here are his comments:

The contract calls for identifying “any instances of inappropriate disbursements from any District account, which may be in violation of Board of Education policy.” This is under the heading “Jefferson Wells Services and Responsibilities” (underlined and bold in document)

This wasn’t done.

There was no forensic accounting of all of the payments and disbursements because the total dollars expended were so large. It may not be Jefferson Wells fault because the contract also says the District “oversees the direction and timing of Jefferson Wells procedures.”

Here’s what it looks to me was not approved in open session as part of specific compensation to many administrators:

1. The District paying for the employee’s contributions to his or her own retirement plans when there was no board policy to do so.

(One fiscal administrator had no provision for any retirement contribution to be paid by the District and the payments were made for three consecutive years. Cost to taxpayers: About $20,000.)

Using a payroll average of $1.5 Million and a 10% contribution rate for example, the dollar value would be about $150,000 per year. Do this for 4 years and you get $600,000.

2. Free family health care coverage paid for many administrators when there was no board policy to do so. If you think this pertained to only a handful of people, then consider that currently District 158 has about 35 individuals classified as eligible to receive this benefit and about 25 actually do.

If the extra cost difference averaged $6,500 per year, for four years this would be $28,000 for each administrator. For only 15 administrators this would be $420,000 (15 X $28,000)

3. Many weeks of extra paid vacation beyond what is called for by board policy.

Take an extra 2 weeks per administrator for only 15 administrators and that’s 30 extra weeks per year. For 4 years that’s 120 extra weeks, or more than 2 years of one administrator’s salary. That’s a six figure dollar value.

4. Extra cash payments to administrators who received free family health care. This was disguised as “cash-in-lieu” payments, meaning cash in lieu of receiving healthcare coverage.

These payments were not authorized as part of board policy during the four years examined in the audit. (The forensic auditors said the cash in lieu payments exceeded $200,000.)

Why wasn’t a forensic accounting done for all of the inappropriate disbursements?

Because the dollar value may approach or exceed $1 Million.

You can’t buy popularity with administrators if you embarrass them with the facts.

Were the many deficiencies of what and how the work was done pointed out by whoever authored the report?

Of course not.

Why weren’t all board members given the opportunity for input?

The answer is the board majority wanted their spin on the summary without interference from any who might question their interpretation.

This is a board majority whose approach is confrontational. It was a real missed opportunity to work together as a unified board.


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