Twice as Much Time Spent on MCC Management Letter, which College Won’t Release, as on Audit

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.”

Fred Lance of the auditing firm called

Fred Lance of the auditing firm called Sikich.

(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.

Chris Jenner

Chris Jenner

“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.


Twice as Much Time Spent on MCC Management Letter, which College Won’t Release, as on Audit — 6 Comments

  1. It is my understanding that if you are stashing away bucks and calling them capital assets you are supposed to be specific in your description as to what they are for.

    If this is true, what is the specific description being used?

    If it is incorrect, never mind.


  2. Okay, so here we go again.

    The management letter is essentially stuck in a “secret place” where taxpayers (who pay the bills) can’t see it.

    And the transparency is where exactly?

    Oh, right, this is Illinois.

    Where are the politicians willing to stand up and change this?

    Oh, right, this is Illinois.

    I believe there is a difference between not having to release it and doing the right thing and release it.

    It sounds like an option not a requirement the way I read this.

    Oh, right, this is Illinois.

    President Vicky Smith, I will never vote for the funds you want to spend and I will encourage everyone I know to vote against those funds.

    If you choose to keep important info secret from the taxpayers who basically pay your salary, isn’t it fascinating that you trust us to pay you but not to tell us what we SHOULD know about how you and your staff run things.

  3. I know of an ex employee of MCC who said the board and Presidents past did a lot of unethical things, this should be investigated.

  4. Illinois needs to overhaul the legislation that governs the Open Meeting Act.

    Illinois allows more reasons to go to closed session than just about any other state.

    Whether or not the particular matter discussed above is a legitimate reason to go to closed session is not evident because we don’t know more details.

    It seems the public should be able to get at least a redacted management letter, and permissible redactions should be minimized.

    Who wants to give additional taxpayer funds to a secretive organization?

  5. I introduced a bill in the 1970’s that would have put each not-for-profit organization under the Open Meetings Act, if it got a majority of its money from one government or another.

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