Shelby Co. (ECWd) -
Once again we see Shelby County Chairman attempt to exercise powers never given. Communications from the newly contracted auditor and Chairman Cannon discuss getting the audit approved at the last meeting started. The communication of 8/19/2020 exposes once again the pattern of the State's Attorney not getting back with people.
I have tried a couple times to reach Gina with no success. I would like to start the audit as soon as possible but cannot proceed until I have an engagement letter signed. Would you prefer that I continue to try to catch up with Gina or do you want me to send it to you and then you chase it down for review and approval?
John Vander Burgh
The response from the Chairman exposes, once again, Cannon has no clue how county government is to operate.
"Gina - needs to handle this. I have copied her so maybe she will respond if not I will get involved next week.
There is nothing for "Gina", the State's Attorney, to handle on the engagement letter. The engagement letter must be signed by the county chairman, who should not sign it until the entire board has a chance to review it and approve it as there has been no board approval to date for the chairman to sign that letter. Nor has the board established who the Auditor is to provide information to. The fact the chairman points the auditor to the State's Attorney is troubling as she has no role in this audit process other than to answer legal questions from the board.
August 20, 2020, the Auditor responds to Cannon:
"I spoke with Gina yesterday. I will send a copy to her for her review and then I need somebody to sign it.
As of 8/28/2020, the Shelby County Clerk Jessica Fox, who is the keeper of the records, has no letter of engagement. She confirmed she only has the presentation the Auditor provided back in March, which is not a letter of engagement. We requested a copy from the auditor but have received no response.
On August 26, 2020, Chairman Cannon submits an invoice from the Auditor to the County Clerk. Contained on the invoice is the chairman's signature approving the payment of $5,000.00 as a retainer. Note that no retainer approval was ever given during the last meeting. Need we say the chairman has no such authority to approve this retainer without board approval? We have confirmed no check was cut and will not be until it is approved through the proper process. This fact shows us once again the clerk knows how to do her job and will not spend taxpayer money without the proper legal approvals.
As of this morning, no letter of engagement has been provided to the clerk. The county board meeting for next week has some very interesting items on the Agenda thanks to new board member Jeff Slifer. It appears the agenda items related to the auditor stem from concerns of board members being clients of the Auditor, (see end of this article).
Considering the Auditor from northern Illinois appears to have the better credentials, this should prove to be an interesting meeting as they can no longer complain about the location of the Auditor since they had no problem supporting the possible hiring of a family member of a board member who is even further north than the auditor (see article here).
4. Jeff Slifer - Discussion to reconsider the hiring of CPA John Vander Burgh (20/20 Forensic Accounting) to perform a payroll audit due to a possible conflict of
interest; approval to rescind engagement of 20/20 Forensic Accounting (Vander Burgh) for payroll audit.
5. Jeff Slifer - Discussion and approval to employ Benford, Brown and Associates to conduct a payroll audit of the Sheriff's office (depending on outcome of #4)
We encourage everyone to attend the meeting to witness first hand your government in action. All public bodies are required to provide the public with a time to speak to the public body. We encourage those who have something to share to write it down and share it during the public comment portion of the meeting. Be precise and to the point but don't expect an answer to any questions you may present as more often than not they refuse to actually answer questions since the law does not require them to respond. The lack of response is an indicator the people should pay attention to during the next election.