Last month, the Ogle County Board received a request for a forensic audit of spending in the sheriff’s office. It’s important the public knows the full context of this request to understand the decisions we’ve made.
Actually, that request was an orchestrated political stunt reported as a seemingly transparent and objective event. The seemingly objective spokesman for the “concerned citizens” happens to be a close personal friend, supporter and godfather of one current sheriff candidate.
His “impassioned plea” that the board contract a forensic accountant was accompanied by a seemingly objective letter from a retired forensic auditor, who happens to be filed with the Illinois Board of Elections as the same candidate’s campaign treasurer.
The seemingly objective group of “concerned citizens” included the candidate’s wife, her parents, and other family, friends and supporters. That same candidate was also there, and didn’t sit with his wife, family and friends, but instead sat on the other side of the room, leaving the impression he had no advance awareness of the events in the room.
Such kind of political stunts are not how this County Board makes decisions. Since last month’s meeting, I obtained the cost of a forensic audit and met with our auditors, who are auditing the same accounts right now for the past year. Except for suggestions for procedural improvement, every transaction in that department balanced properly.
Our Finance Committee discussed the need for a forensic auditor, and every member, except one, felt that without any activity remotely close to criminal or fraudulent action, which is usually the trigger for such an expensive audit, it’s not a wise use of tax dollars for a forensic audit of the same accounts before we have the first audit completed.
Hopefully, with all the facts, and knowing that funding political witch hunts isn’t a wise use of tax dollars, the public now will understand our actions.
Note to readers: Kim P. Gouker is chairman of the Ogle County Board.