Illinois (ECWd) -
I will be the first to tell the world, I struggled my whole life with grammar and to this day I am dependent on numerous programs in an effort to ensure I get it right, however since we are not selling anything nor are we paid journalists, I don't lose any sleep over some of our mistakes in the typed text we publish.
However, after obtaining a copy of the opening statement from Frank Mautino to the Legislative Audit Commission I felt it necessary to point out the red flags that most professionals would have recognized and more than likely used as a reason to dismiss a prospect for the position of Auditor General.
Let's start with the title he provided:
"Representative Mautino Opening State to Legislative Audit Commission"
Can anyone tell us what an "Opening State" to Legislative Audit Commission means? After doing our best to figure out what on earth that means, it became clear after speaking with a grade schooler that the word state should have been "statement", as in Representative Mautino Opening Statement to Legislative Audit Commission, with the word opening and statement to not be capitalized. You would think a person seeking a 10-year position as the top Auditor of this state he would have had the grammar in the title right. I am guessing no one on the audit commission noticed this as they did, in fact, recommend him.
"...is I am selected the next Illinois Auditor General"
What he meant to say, we hope, was; "I believe this practical experience will be extremely beneficial if I am selected the next Illinois Auditor General."
Again, you would have thought a man seeking the position of Auditor General for the State of Illinois would have ensured such typos were corrected.
Ok, minor grammar errors for a person seeking a 10 year Constitutional Office in the State of Illinois may not be a disqualifier............in Illinois.
That leads us to what he thinks makes him qualified:
- Associate Degree in Liberal Arts
- Bachelor Degree in Marketing, Finance, and Business Administration
Now I have to throw a flag on the field. Are we to believe that this commission had the best interest of the State of Illinois at heart when they appointed a Liberal Arts/Marketing/Finance/Business Administrator to be the State's top Auditor? Now I understand better than many, education is not always an indicator of the quality of work a person can provide, but I suspect most would agree that this position should have been filled with at least a person with a Masters degree, preferably in accounting or at a minimum a licensed Certified Public Accountant.
Knowing what we know now, these Mautino zingers tell us all we need to know:
"I have strived to fulfill my duties with honor and dignity throughout my district, the legislature, and the State of Illinois."
There is no honor or dignity in pleading the 5th Mr. Mautino!
"I have helped develop budgets for the State of Illinois"
Would those same budgets be the ones that listed bond sales as revenue instead of debt? How many of those budgets were balanced? Seriously, we have not had a balanced budget in this state for years so I fail to see how Mautino's claim of helping to develop budgets is of any value. All things considered, maybe this issue alone should have been a disqualifier.
"Most of my legislative career has been focused on fiscal issues, with an emphasis on compliance and transparency"
Well, considering he has pled the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination as it relates to his campaign spending and reporting, most would agree there was no emphasis on compliance in that arena of his career. I suppose his emphasis on compliance and transparency is why he is currently being sued in the Circuit Court for failing to comply with the most basic of transparency laws in this state, the Freedom of Information Act. And yes, I said he failed to comply because we now have in our hands an admission to that fact. More on that to come!
"My work on the Revenue Committee, the Appropriations Committee, and the Economic and Fiscal Committee have provided me the opportunity to develop a profound understanding of the complexity of state budget management and inter-agency operations."
For a person who claims to have a "profound" understanding of the complexity of state budget management and inter-agency operations do we need to further explain why he should resign? The State of Illinois is on a cliff as it relates to our Revenue, Appropriations, Economical and Fiscal condition and now he wants us to believe his work on those matters somehow qualifies him to be our Auditor? Seriously?
"The position of Auditor General is predicated on trust and ethics,...."accuracy, transparency, and fairness.
Considering he admits the office of Auditor General is predicated on trust and ethics, can we all agree you can't trust a person to hold this office when they have pled the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination and currently cooperating with the US Attorney on a criminal investigation into his campaign spending and reporting? Since he raised the issue of ethics, ethics are defined as moral principles that govern a person's behavior. Considering his now exposed behavior has taken the path of exercising his 5th Amendment rights I don't think I need to say any more on trust and ethics.
When it comes to accuracy, he had yet to provide "accurate" reporting of his campaign expenditures to the State Board of Elections. I guess only the office of Auditor General need worry about being accurate.
Considering he invoked transparency as a predicate to the Office of Auditor General, his own words should be used in demands for his removal from office. He has failed to be transparent with the simplest of laws, the Freedom of Information Act. That is sufficient to disqualify him for office in most people's minds.
In regards to "fairness", are to believe it is fair to the people of this state to pay the salary and benefits of a Constitutional Officer that has pled the 5th Amendment?
"I look forward to the challenge of conducting audits in accordance with professional auditing standards and the direction of the Illinois General Assembly"
Considering he has no formal education in accounting, how does he plan on conducting audits in accordance with professional auditing standards?
First, the highly-qualified and credentialed staffs of the Illinois Auditor General's Office investigate, review, and report their findings on compliance issues, ensuring the Illinois Auditor General's Office maintains the highest standards of professionalism. Secondly, the Office of the Auditor General is scrutinized on-site every three years by a peer review team of professional auditors from other states and the federal government. They review every document associated with audits they select for review. The third key to ensuring the accuracy, transparency, and fairness of the administrative operations of the Auditor General's Office is the biennial audit performed by external auditors selected by the Legislative Audit Commission.
This profound explanation is how an unqualified person explains why selecting him is OK. All those safeguards in place will ensure his lack of auditing skills will not be a problem. Sadly for Mautino, leadership is an attribute this commission should have been seeking as the top priority, and clearly, there is none, either with Mautino or the commission that selected him for a vote.
It's high time Frank Mautino resign from office. If he is not going to resign then we believe there is more than enough evidence to support his removal for cause by the General Assembly.
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