Counties & Municipalities Soon Will Have to Post Management Letters & Audits; Could Junior Colleges Be Next?

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.

Fred Lance of the auditing firm called

McHenry County College Auditor Fred Lance of the auditing firm called Sikich was not allowed to discuss his management letter in public.

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

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

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.


Comments

Counties & Municipalities Soon Will Have to Post Management Letters & Audits; Could Junior Colleges Be Next? — 4 Comments

  1. The overarching problem is not limited to counties as the MCC link indicates.

    Taking it a step further, the problem is not limited to management audits.

    The big problem is local public sector administrations that are not forthright in telling their boards the full story.

    That could include simply not providing documents to the board.

    It could be documents the board doesn’t even know exists, i.e. the administration is aware of a problem or document the board is not aware of.

    Furthermore administrations and boards are heavily influenced by public sector unions, so if a document does make it to the board, another problem as alluded to above is the board may not provide the document to the public.

    The mainstream press does not have the resources and expertise to uncover these shenanigans.

    It requires someone from the public consistently attending board meetings or at least viewing them online, and taking the time and effort to understand how the taxing district works including its politics.

    Such a task is difficult if you are a Lone Ranger.

    You at least need Tonto.

    This is precisely the primary reason why the left vilifies Tea Party groups.

    The left has public sector unions funded by union dues and their enormous networked infrastructure at the local, state, and Federal level.

    Tea Party funding doesn’t come close to public sector union funding.

    Many more of the above mentioned hidden documents make it to public sector union hands than Tea Party hands.

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