Shannon L. Teresi: Candidate profile, McHenry County Auditor
Republican incumbent Shannon L. Teresi and Libertarian James "Jim" Young are vying for McHenry County auditor in the Nov. 3 general election.
Teresi, who has an accounting degree from Northern Illinois University, became county auditor in 2018 after serving eight years in financial roles with the county, first as internal county auditor and then as financial reporting manager.
To explore her campaign websites, check shannonteresi.com.
The candidates were asked to respond to a series of questions. Here are Teresi's responses.
For complete election coverage, visit www.dailyherald.com and click on "Election Central."
Q. What is the next challenge facing the McHenry County Auditor's Office and how do you plan on addressing it?
A. Auditor's office is working on adding automated and continuous internal auditing program through a data analytic tool called Microsoft Power Bi, which is integrated with the county's financial system. It provides interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities that will assist with enhancing audit procedures.
Auditor's office is adding more financial transparency on the auditor's office website by using automation by creating an interactive dashboard with additional financial information and charts. The dashboard will have information updated daily, so taxpayers can have access to the information they need to ensure good government.
Q. What do you bring to the table that your opponent does not?
A. I bring to the table a Certification in Fraud examination (CFE), Internal Auditing (CIA) and Risk Management Assurance (CRMA). In addition, I have my Certification in Public Accounting (CPA) and a master's and bachelor's degrees in accounting. I have over 10 years' experience in county government; including positions as the Financial Reporting Manager and Internal Auditor.
This experience has made me knowledgeable on the county's various funds, accounting systems, operations and more than two dozen departments. I have served as a core team member and subject matter expert in the county's recent four (4) million countywide financial system implementation. I am already up to speed on McHenry County government to make value added recommendations. As your county auditor, I am uniquely qualified for the role to best serve the taxpayers.
Q. What special qualifications does a county auditor need that may not apply to other county offices? What professional qualifications or experiences do you possess that will help ensure your success as auditor?
A. It is recommended for the county auditor to have financial, accounting and auditing certifications, education and experience, which is unique compared to other county offices. I have my CPA, Master's in Accounting, Certification in Fraud examination (CFE), Internal Auditing (CIA) and Risk Management Assurance (CRMA). I have significant government auditing, accounting and forensic investigation experience. Additionally, I worked at a worldwide big four public accounting firm (PWC) with experience in external and internal auditing.
The auditor's office manages the "Be a Hero" fraud waste and abuse hotline for employees and taxpayers to report tips. Due to my certificate in fraud examination and experience in fraud investigations; we are best positioned to respond professionally and confidentially.
Q. To what extent must an auditor remain independent of other county offices and officials, and how will you ensure the appropriate level of independence in this office?
A. The county auditor must remain independent in appearance and in fact from other county offices. Independence is reviewed by ensuring all internal audit fieldwork and reports are reviewed by multiple staff. The auditor's office upholds the Institute of Internal Auditor's Standards and encourages staff to obtain accounting, auditing, fraud investigation and ethics training annually.
Q. Describe your position regarding the allocation of resources in the auditor's office. Are personnel allocated as they should be? Are there capital expense or other budgetary items that the office must address, and, if so, how do you propose to address them?
A. Resources and personnel are currently allocated as appropriate. Currently staff are being developed through training, certification and experience to enhance their service to the county. Personnel dollars will be shifted in the office based on current staff, experience, certifications, and value provided.
Currently, the auditor's office is proposing a slight decrease in fiscal year 2021 budget to reflect the current economic climate. Auditor's Office focus is finding tax savings and operational efficiencies in the county government through the internal audit process. Ultimately, this makes a larger financial impact for the taxpayers.
As the auditor, I have added a review of all electronic payments being issued at the county to ensure adequate support, compliance and approvals. Additionally, the auditor's office implemented an independent review over purchases that require competitive procurement. (It is called "requisition approval.") This ensures oversight by the taxpayers and assists the departments with compliance with applicable laws, board policies, ordinances, and grant agreements. As the county auditor, I have increased services to the county without increasing costs!