DuPage County auditor on delayed reports: the buck stops with me

Outdated software and an ongoing controversy surrounding bills from the DuPage County clerk’s office have delayed quarterly audit reports for nearly four years.

The last quarterly auditor’s report covered the third fiscal quarter of 2020, DuPage County Auditor Bill White, who took office in late 2020, told county board members on Tuesday.

The quarterly audit reports review the county’s financials and flag any problems.

White told board members he is working to correct any software issues and to get all auditing reports to county board members in the coming months.

“The buck stops with me,” he said. “I’m responsible for my entire office. I’m 100% responsible for making sure we come into compliance.”

He noted the software previously used to extrapolate data for the audits was already nearing the end of its useful life before 2020. He told board members he was hopeful he had found a solution that would work to extrapolate the data needed for the audits.

However, staff also has had to spend about 10% of its time reviewing bills from the county clerk’s office and ensuring that proper procedures are followed, White said.

The auditor’s office has flagged various bills from the clerk’s office in recent years because they have lacked proper documentation or signatures.

The clerk’s office has argued that the county board cannot hold up payment of bills she has already approved and that the auditor should not be involved in the review of any of the bills.

“This is not what I thought I’d be doing when I came to this office — trying to obtain basic compliance with basic fundamental principles,” White told board members.

He said the time spent dealing with other “pressing issues,” such as bills from the clerk’s office, has prohibited him from addressing the audits.

White added that under the old system, it would take one week for a staff member to prepare an audit. He said software is available that would help streamline that process and make preparing the report less labor-intensive.

“The quarterly report should not take a full week of staff time to do,” he said.

DuPage County Board members thanked White for his honesty and willingness to be held accountable, noting that the clerk’s office has declined to answer questions publicly at board meetings.

And though DuPage County Board Chairwoman Deborah Conroy said White had previously made her aware of the issues, board members urged White not to wait to come to them if problems persist.

“This board needs to know the stuff that’s going on out there … not three years later,” DuPage County Board member Brian Krajewski said.

White said he anticipates including a request for new software in the upcoming budget.

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