McHenry County Auditor Pam Palmer is again hesitant to share misdeeds of others with the public.
The first time around it was an audit of the Nunda Township Senior Bus program.
I had to ask Nunda Township for a copy of it and that was not supplied until I filed an appeal with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
(I never published what I got, because the township gave it to the Northwest Herald before it sent it to me. It was apparently newsworthy, because it ended up on the NWH’s front page.)
The bus audit had been discussed with the County Board, however.
I thought the philosophy of the County Auditor seemed to be that the public should not be allowed to see anything that would show government operating improperly.
But she sent me this follow-up email after the letter of denial of my Freedom of Information request for the latest internal audit, which you can read below:
“I am trying to work with the Finance and Audit Committee to establish a process for the release of internal audits.
“This is something that some of the committee members have wanted to put into place.
“In addition, I have also been working with the State’s Attorney’s Office with questions to make sure that the process includes avenues for the various circumstances that could occur.
“This might take a meeting or two to work out yet.
“I am not opposed at all to transparency, just to ensure that a system is in place.”
I think taxpayers should be allowed to figure out who is to blame for such misdeeds.
This time around, I’m told the audit has to do with a dentist having double-billed for treating Veterans.
Posted last night accompanying the agenda for the Finance and Audit Committee meeting set for Thursday morning for 8:15 is evidence my sources were near the mark.
The proposal is entitled,
Resolution to Waive a Freedom of Information Act Exemption Relating to an Internal Audit on the Dental Care Clinic Fund
The following background is given in a memo:
“Finance and Audit Committee was presented preliminary findings by the County Auditor on an internal audit done on the McHenry County Dental Care Clinic Fund, a special revenue fund for the Department of Public Health.
“The findings showed irregularities between the Dental Health Care Clinic and a veteran’s grant received by the Veterans Assistance Commission providing dental services to indigent veterans.
“Some members of the Finance and Audit Committee have strong feelings that this information should be released and the County Auditor should turn over her working papers.
“The County Auditor’s stance is and has been this audit was done for the purpose of investigating improper use of grant and dental care clinic funds.”
Here is Palmer’s denial of my Freedom of Information request to see the audit:
“Communications between a public body and an attorney or auditor representing the public body that would not be subject to discover in litigation, and materials prepared or compiled by or for a public body in anticipation of a criminal, civil or administrative proceeding upon the request of an attorney advising the public body, and materials prepared or compiled with respect to internal auditor of public bodies.”
There is obviously smoke.
The following email from the Department of Health, where I filed another FOIA request suggests there is also fire:
“The health department does not have any of the records you are requesting, they were all forwarded to the State’s Attorney’s office last year.”