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McLean County To Seek Free Help First In Auditing Dispute

Josh Barnett
Jeff Smudde
McLean County Board member Josh Barnett said it's worth exploring free accounting guidance before hiring a consultant to resolve the bookkeeping dispute.

As McLean County government looks to bring in an outside accounting expert to help resolve a bookkeeping dispute between its two financial officers, the County Board is holding out hope it can be done without additional cost.
The County Board on Tuesday voted unanimously to authorize Administrator Camille Rodriguez to seek an independent auditor who could provide recommendations to the county as it seeks to establish formal fiscal management policies.

Board member Josh Barnett got the wording of the proposal changed to reflect that the county would hire an expert only “if necessary.”

Barnett said he doesn’t know if free advice would be possible, but he figured it’s worth exploring first.

“I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s important to allow the administrator to explore all the options that might be available,” Barnett said.

The County Board’s Finance Committee endorsed the plan during a three-hour special meeting Monday in which Auditor Michelle Anderson and Treasurer Rebecca McNeil outlined their policies in an effort to explain why some bills were late in getting paid.

Barnett suggested the county might be able to turn to colleagues in other counties for guidance.

“The administrator has a number of ways to be able to pursue some outside advice,” he said. “There’s the (Illinois) Association of County Administrators. There are other counties that are large such as us. Some of them have auditors, some of them do not that she can reach out to.”

Barnett was asked if the new fiscal policies could be put in place by the start of the next budget year in January.

“Let’s hope so,” he said.

Anderson said Monday the County Board doesn’t have legal authority to set policy for her office. The county is seeking a legal opinion from the state’s attorney’s office.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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