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Shelby County State’s Attorney and County Chairman Conflicted – Both must recuse themselves from the payroll forensic auditor selection process

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

During the last fourteen months, the Shelby County Treasurer has been warning county officials there is a serious payroll problem.  Serious enough that even the illegally hired private attorney has said a criminal investigation is in order.

The identified problem is actual hours worked vs. hours paid.  Most county departments were not keeping track of actual hours worked, but rather simply turning in a payroll record for a set figure with no documentation to support actual hours worked.  Estimates of overpayments in payroll are approximately $500,000.00 over the last 5 years.

As the Treasurer, Erica Firnhaber began to get traction to fix the problem after identify the magnitude of the problem.   She is seeking a forensic audit of the county payroll with an emphasis on those departments she has already identified fraud. During the last county board meeting, the agenda reflected State’s Attorney Gina Vonderheide was to provide an update on the forensic audit and request board approval to proceed with a forensic audit.

She must recuse herself from this process as should County Chairman Bruce Cannon.

Chairman Cannon must recuse from all discussions and actions on this matter due to his own problems of filing false claims to the county which we covered in this article.

State’s Attorney Vonderheide must recuse herself due to her own payroll problems.

  • Who knew she turned in payroll after taking office that gave herself a $464.68 a month raise in direct conflict with the established compensation set by the State of Illinois?

From December 1, 2012, through May of 2015 she was overpaid approximately $14,985.93. (Click here for payroll report reflecting the increase and click here for the monthly payment schedule)

While we have not been able to identify who caught these overpayments, she was provided a repayment plan to have $384.25 deducted from thirty-nine paychecks, making the payback almost complete on November 18, 2016.  (Overpaid $14,985.93– paid back $14,985.75= $.18 cents owed)

How convenient for the top law enforcement officer in the county to get overpaid by almost $15,000.00 in 3 1/2 years.   When we have county board members who think they have no right to question a department head as it relates to their payroll, this is the kind of stuff that happens.

While the Treasure has been demanding accountability for timesheets reflecting hours worked, it’s clear even the State’s Attorney’s office is not following established law for her own pay, let alone those in her office.

With a County Chairman turning in claims for pay in direct conflict with the set compensation resolution and a State’s Attorney who submitted what appears to be a self-imposed pay raise in conflict with state law, as well as failing to keep a record of her employee’s hours, both must recuse themselves from the entire payroll forensic auditor selection process.

With the Treasure being the one most knowledgable to the payroll problems it makes sense for her to be the point person that selects the actual auditor.  We are of the opinion the County Board, Chairman excluded, should approve the hiring of a forensic auditor selected by the Treasure and that the Treasure be the contact person for the Auditors.

(Note – The portions in blue are clickable links to the documents that support the information being provided)

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