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Letter: Audit will determine who is right in county board vs. clerk battle

Posted on 10/27/2017, 1:00 AM

Dear editor: The taxpayers of Saline County deserve to know the facts regarding the current situation with the County Clerk.

Nearly two years ago the Saline County Board passed Ordinance 17-131. This was pursuant to Illinois Statutes. The county was required to conduct a cost study of the fees collected by the clerk.

Not all fees collected stay in the clerk's budget. Certain fees, by law, are transferred to the county general fund. This ordinance redistributed the fees collected by the clerk's office. It did not take funds away from the clerk's budget.

Following the recommendations of the Bell Weather Group, the board voted to increase certain fees. These fees are to be reported to the board each month and transferred to county's general fund.

State law requires the transfer to occur on or before the 10th of each month following collection. The clerk submits a report with appropriate checks to the county treasurer.

The problem facing the board is funds transferred do not match the funds listed in the monthly report. Despite attempts to resolve the matter, the clerk has refused to meet with county officials. The board filed suit against the clerk in an attempt to resolve the discrepancies.

Judge Clark issued an order for the clerk to comply with the Board's wishes. The clerk signed the order agreeing with the terms.

However, the clerk continues to turn in reports that do not match funds transferred, and refuses to explain the differences. The board voted unanimously that a Forensic Audit was in order.

The audit will determine if funds are missing, and if there are additional issues with the clerk's accounting of funds. The taxpayers deserve to know if there are problems and if not, the clerk deserves to be exonerated.

The Saline County Board meets in open session the fourth Thursday of each month at the courthouse. Meeting time is 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

Stephen D. Karns
Saline County Board