Kankakee County auditor cheers follow-the-numbers approach
Jacob Lee applauded the Kankakee County Board recently for listening to an auditing expert: himself.
“I certainly was glad to see the County Board discuss the audit of funds controlled by elected officials,” Lee, the county auditor, wrote on his Facebook page. “As I have stated in the past, as far as we can tell, this mandatory audit (and good practice audit too – I might add) has never been done and no one ever said anything about it. Job well done to our chairman and states attorney for pushing forward on this issue that I reported on in April. I am excited to see this new level of transparency.”
Kankakee Board Chairman Andrew Wheeler said Lee brought up the mandatory auditing issue at the board's June meeting, saying the audits were required by statute. Wheeler explained that the audits are required any time there is a change of elected officials, regardless of the reasons.
“We should have done one when the sheriff changed over, within 180 days I believe, but we were bullets out of the gun there – no pun intended,” Wheeler said at the meeting. “So we can’t really go back on that one, but the new elected officials that we have in the treasurer’s office, the state’s attorney and the auditor’s office, they need to have an audit done.”
According to Kankakee’s Daily Journal, Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey was sworn into office just over a year ago, in May 2016, following the retirement of former Sheriff Tim Bukowski. While the statutory time limit for the audit required by that change in office has long since passed, Downey expressed his eagerness nonetheless to be audited along with the newly elected officials.
“You’re certainly welcome to include me in that audit, and I would actually prefer it,” Downey said at the meeting. Wheeler responded that they would look into the matter and work to have the audit completed with the others.
State law does not provide specific parameters on the audit except that it be done by a CPA, according to Wheeler.
“It’s basically a spot check; it’s not hugely in depth, but it needs to be a new audit," he said. "We just can’t use what they’ve already done. …The statute doesn’t say that, but the ethics of an outside auditor say that – that they just can’t redo what they did.”
Prior to the meeting, Wheeler contacted area accounting firm SKDO to get an idea of the scope and requirements of the audit. Based on rough estimates, the county stands to spend between $3,000 and $5,000, depending on how involved the audit is. Those figures were based on estimates without an audit for Downey.
“Compliance is really the issue," Wheeler said. "The auditor is obviously sticking with the statutes, and we want to support that. ... We’ll give a report on where this comes out with finance as far as the final costs… . It’s just that it hasn’t been done. Speaking with Mr. Lee, there are other counties that do this all the time. It’s just not a public thing that is released out there. But you still have to do it. … Unfortunately it’s an expense, but it’s something we have to do."
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189 East Court Street
Kankakee, IL 60901