Shelby Co. (ECWd) -
Once again, the comments from the State's Attorney regarding state law are perplexing. Illinois law requires an audit of all funds and accounts under the management or control of a county official as soon as possible after the official leaves office.
55 ILCS 5/6-31005 - Funds managed by county officials in addition to any other audit required by this Division, the County Board shall cause an audit to be made of all funds and accounts under the management or control of a county official as soon as possible after such official leaves office for any reason. The audit shall be filed with the county board no later than 180 days after the official leaves office. The audit shall be performed and the audit report shall be prepared and filed with the Chairman of the County Board by an auditor.
As used in this Section, "county official" means any elected county officer or any officer appointed by the county board who is charged with the management or control of any county funds; and "audit" means a post facto examination of books, documents, records, and other evidence relating to the obligation, receipt, expenditure or use of public funds of the county, including governmental operations relating to such obligations, receipt, expenditure or use.
Nichole Kroncke's first comment about this law is about there not being any cases on the statute because she does not think anyone is following the statute. Could it be that the reason there are no cases on it is that the plain reading of the law is so clear no one would be stupid enough to ignore the law? While we suspect there are counties who have not followed the law, our experience would point to the reason being they are not aware of it, rather than being aware and ignoring it. This was the second time she has spoken about other counties not following it, which has nothing to do with the matter before the board.
While she does not "think" anyone is following it, it did not take long to find proof that it is being followed. In fact, not only is it being followed, the Kane County State's Attorney provided a memorandum to the county officials on the matter explaining the law and even includes the appropriate resolution to be adopted by the County Board. Those records can be viewed in the Kane County audit document at this link, beginning on page 61.
The law was also being followed in McHenry County, a former place of employment for Kroncke as found in the County Auditor's report at this link.
Kendall County also followed the law as found in their records.
The Kane and McHenry County documents outline key points regarding the required audit which could be used to educate Shelby County officials.
The audit is required for all funds and accounts under the management or control of a county official. The issue raised about what is or is not public funds is laughable when you read the plain reading of the law. The law defines "audit" and most auditors are capable of determining how to apply the definition in the law when they perform their audit. If there are funds that are found not to be public funds then they would not be part of the required audit. If such funds exist, the question becomes why is a public official managing private funds and if they are, where are the checks and balances to ensure those funds are being spent properly?
Rather than "thinking" no one else follows the law or concerning themselves with what is or is not public funds, why not instruct the county board to follow the law on the books and educate them on the process, much like the Kane County State's Attorney did in his memorandum?
In my very first presentation to the Shelby County Board, I emphasized the importance of following the law rather than look to others to see how they are doing things. That advice clearly fell on deaf ears as here we are two years later and the focus appears to be on what other counties are doing rather than what the law says they are supposed to do.
The video is of the entire meeting but is set to start at the point where the Clerk defers to the State's Attorney.