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August 12, 2022

Piatt County Chairman Ray Spencer should resign

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On June 11, 2020

Piatt Co. (ECWd) –

Piatt County Chairman Ray Spencer called for the resignation of the State’s Attorney and Assistant State’s Attorney citing lack of legal representation on County matters.

The State’s Attorney, Dana Rhoades, issued a Press Release yesterday clearly refuting the Chairman’s claims, however, the real story needs to be shared.

Blame shifting, the new normal in America.  Rather than accepting responsibility for one’s own actions, the new normal is to shift blame to others if you get exposed for illegal acts or straight up incompetence. This is the case with Spencer and his call for the resignation of the State’s Attorney.

There have been a flurry of claims of conflicts with the County Board and the State’s Attorney’s office since Chairman Spencer was indicted on felony charges, however, to date none of the claims have actually pointed to well-established law on the matter.

Attorney General William Scott issued an opinion on conflicts with the State’s Attorney Office and County Officers.  It is a worthy read for those that choose to understand the reality of the way things should be vs the upside-down illogical logic process we see daily across the country.

AG Scott points out the State’s Attorney has three clients:  “the people, the county board and the county officers”.  We take note of who the first client is, the people.

The opinion, supported by case law, makes it crystal clear that a State’s Attorney has statutory duties to comply with, and those duties are not negotiable, and do include the power to take action against County Officers on behalf of the people.

“One of the points discussed in the court’s opinion was whether a state’s attorney who has the duty to defend the county and its officers, could bring a suit against the officers. The court pointed to numerous cases where the state’s attorney has represented the people against officers or the county board.”

“Courtney v. Ashton, supra, held, in effect, that in a case involving a possible conflict between the people’s interest and county officer’s exercise of his power, the state’s attorney must determine which position is correct and represent that party. This implies that this office is not required to act in a dual capacity and provide counsel for the opposing party.”

Did you catch that?

“the state’s attorney must determine which position is correct and represent that party

Spencer’s call for a resignation flies in the face of the established principals applied to the Office of State’s Attorney.  We urge Spencer to resign and we challenge him to dispute all the justification for such resignation in our opinion.

While we believe the above is more than enough justification for demanding Spender’s resignation, please know there is more justification located in the Audits of Piatt County.

2015 County Audit

  • Material Weaknesses -Condition: During the review of the financial reporting process, we noted that neither management nor the accounting personnel have the expertise to select and apply appropriate accounting principles or to prepare financial statements with appropriate footnotes in accordance with the modified cash basis of accounting.
  • Material Audit Adjustments – Condition: During the audit, multiple accounting errors were identified that resulted in material audit adjustments required to keep the County’s financial statements from being material misstated.

2016 County Audit

  • Material Weaknesses -Condition: During the review of the financial reporting process, we noted that neither management nor the accounting personnel have the expertise to select and apply appropriate accounting principles or to prepare financial statements with appropriate footnotes in accordance with the modified cash basis of accounting.
  • Material Audit Adjustments – Condition: Condition: During the audit, multiple accounting errors were identified, predominantly in the Nursing Home Fund, that resulted in material audit adjustments required to keep the County’s financial statements from being material misstated

2017 County Audit

  • Material Weaknesses -Condition: During the review of the financial reporting process, we noted that neither management nor the accounting personnel have the expertise to select and apply appropriate accounting principles or to prepare financial statements with appropriate footnotes in accordance with the modified cash basis of accounting.
  • Material Audit Adjustments – Condition: During the audit of the Piatt County Nursing Home Fund, we discovered that multiple accounts were materially misstated.

2018 County Audit

  • Material Weaknesses – Condition: During the review of the financial reporting process, we noted that neither management nor the accounting personnel have the expertise to select and apply appropriate accounting principles or to prepare financial statements with appropriate footnotes in accordance with the modified cash basis of accounting.
  • Material Audit Adjustments – Condition: During the audit of the Piatt County Nursing Home Fund, we discovered that multiple accounts were materially misstated.

Negligence is the word that comes to my mind when I read multiple years of audits with the same findings.  Each and every audit says, “There is no disagreement with the audit finding The County is aware of the need for the expertise necessary to prepare a complete set of financial statement and the related disclosures. Management will continue to monitor the internal controls over financial reporting as well as the cost/benefit relationship with these issues.”

Rather than “monitoring” these problems why not fix them?

It is clear that Piatt County Chairman Ray Spender is the one that needs to resign and take personal responsibility for his actions as well as inactions that include failing to fix the findings in the County Audit, year after year.

We urge everyone to read AG Scott’s opinion on conflicts with the Office of State’s Attorney and County Officers by downloading it at this link or view below.

AG Opinion - States Attorney has three clients! (002)

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