Those who read my article yesterday entitled,
708 Board Staff Outlines Audit Alternatives – “Audit…Might Be Very Damaging”
might have guessed I might have had something to say in public comment.
And I did.
I read the outlined part of the report that I emphasized in the article.
Having spent six years on the Legislative Audit Commission and reviewed hundreds of audits, I told the committee members, if I saw the head of an agency making such a recommendation that I would have demanded the most extensive audit possible.
I told the members that I hoped they would vote for a real audit.
Interim Executive Director Todd Schroll said that the memo was “not a true representation of my intent.”
He said, “It’s all about making sure we’re auditing the right things.”
Schroll pointed out that figures existed not only at the 708 Board, but also in County government.
Former Crystal Lake School District 47 Board member Rob Routzahn explained that he had talked to auditors and “the message I hear is to “ignore the county…to make this an audit of how [we’re doing things].”He said the Request for Proposal should be “really crisp about what we want to accomplish with the audit,” but that the Board should be open to modifications suggested by auditing firms.
Routzahn said the Board needed to “hedge against ‘We don’t know what we don’t know.'”
He was emphatic that the audit should not be an internal audit, but an external audit.
“We don’t want to be seen as steering the audit.”
“I agree with Rob,” subcommittee chairman Don Larsen said.
Schroll pointed out that they would not be auditing “the official numbers.”
“There’s not a fear of something wrong,” he added.
“If you remove the county from the picture, you remove separation of duties,” warned Fiscal Operations Manager Jane Wacker, a CPA.
“It’s one of checks and balances,” former Vice Chairman of the County Board Larsen agreed.
“None of this conversation should be considered as resistance to an audit,” Schroll said. “They’re not coming to do a standard audit. They’re coming to perform a blended audit.”
The third member of the Finance Committee, Connee Meschini then weighed in:
“I like a high audit like Cal said on the Mental Health Board not the County…and be open to what an auditor would say or affirm.”
Routzahn suggested that later, the Board might “want to do a procedural or operational audit, [but] let’s get out arms around the numbers first.”
He pointed out that the District 47 Board met with auditors without administrators in the room, asking other things the auditors had observed that were not in the audit or the management letter.
“They know when they see when there’s something not right.”
Then Routzahn dropped this opinion:
“I do not think we should have a McHenry County [based] auditor.”
“That’s contrary to what we usually do,” Larsen pointed out.
Routzahn said he wanted the audit “so far above reproach, passing the sniff test for the public and me.”
The members voted 3-0 to present their idea at the next 708 Board meeting.
Unfortunately many governments are more concerned about image than transparency when it comes to audits.
A rosy image means the public is more agreeable to their compensation, tax hikes, and creation of more government.
Isn’t it interesting how government and auditing firms can steer the auditing process and results.
Most people don’t think about that very much.
The purpose of the audit is very important.
An auditor could actually detect areas of government excess but it not get reported because that’s typically not the purpose of an audit.
Also many people assume if there is fraud, it would be uncovered by an audit.
Very often that’s not true.
There are many types of fraud.
An audit to detect many of those types would often be very expensive.
And there’s many moving parts.
The auditor(s), the person at the government managing the process, the administration, the board.
So for the public to the best information from an audit requires an astute auditor, and all levels of government to also be astute and transparent.
Anyone behind the scenes will tell you that there is much to hide.
Your right Cal- the fear of damaging information extends beyond the MHB to the County Board.
Why would the County Board go to such great lengths to derail the efforts of the PHHS to put on qualified people , replace Sandy Salgado with of all people Bob Martins (former CEO of the defunct FAmily Services)?
He was fired from FS and then given his payoff of a golden parachute…do you know of any business who does that but this county?
Same goes for Bob Lesser of the MHB.
I applaud Rob for his astute perception.
Be careful though Rob…Todd Shroll is as devious as they come and every attempt will be made to cover up the facts.
The current issue now being covered up is the whole Medicaid issue…so you really think the STate is going to just say, MHB you made a “error in interpretation” in billing all of these years and so just stop billing and we’ll walk away?”
Be prepared…when the State comes after the MHB to collect for years of billing Medicaid that they were not allowed to bill.
Why do you think Sandy Lewis left immediately upon dropping the issue of Medicaid in her last directors report?
This is a huge coverup and every attempt is being made to keep it from being exposed.