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home : insight & opinion : letters to the editor May 26, 2016

10/10/2013 2:00:00 PM
Board, committee are 'good stewards'

Editor:

In the last month, on two separate days (Sept. 13 and Oct. 4), the front page of the Daily News has carried stories about the Crawford County Board and its questioning of County Clerk Patty Lycan's decision to accept a bid for computer equipment that was the highest of the three submitted bids.

According to Illinois Compiled Statutes, 55 ILCS 5/5-32038 states, the committee "...shail reject all proposals or bids other than the lowest regular proposals or bids of any responsible bidder and may award the contract for the specified work or improvement to the lowest responsible bidder at the prices named in this bid." (http://www.ilga.gov/leqislation/ilcs/documents/00550005OK532038.htm)

With such a state statute, County Board Chairman Gareld Bilyew "...turned to the board's claims committee with his concerns. He asked Chair Shirley Treadway and members Don Richart and Allen Price not to recommend paying the four bills for the equipment ... and put a hold on the bills until the September board meeting ... (but) State's Attorney Matt Hartrich informed him that, under the state's 'prompt payment law'...he had no legal right to block the payments." (Daily News, Oct. 4)

Bilyew then explained to a packed house at the County Board's special meeting on Oct. 3 that, "...under state law, the county board has no real authority over other elected officials, except when approving their annual budgets. The board, clerk, and other elected officials are, ultimately, answerable only to the voters, not each other." He went on to explain, the claims committee is "..just another set of eyes and ears to make sure everything is done in order." (Daily News, Oct. 4)

Board member Allen Price went on to explain that the claims committee goes over every claim to make sure it is filled out correctly and signed and stressed the importance of every county department following the same process.

Lycan then said that "...she knew of no other county that has a claims committee..."

Other counties, though, do have claims committees or have, as part of their finance committees, rules dealing with claims:

Clay County has a claims Committee that meets the second Monday of each month (http://wvvNv.claycountyillinois.ory~/index.aspx?page=31).

Edgar County has a Claims-Subdivisions-Judiciary Committee (http://edgarcountyillinois.com/2012-2014committies).

Fayette County has a Claims Committee meeting on Mondays before the County Board meetings (http://209.175.254.253/record/content.php?i=5&PHPSESSID=8bbe1f5548b6465a964dd2lf35b2342c).

Grundy County has a Finance and Claims Committee that meets biweekly (http://www.grundyco.org/about/committees/item/finance).

Jackson County Finance Committee Responsibility No. 4 is: "Review and recommend payment of County General and Special Funds monthly bills" (http://jacksoncounty-il.gov/index.php/mmcounty- board-office/board-committees/finance-committee).

Livingston County Finance Committee "...shall examine and approve all bills payable by the County ... prepare the budget ... shall also be designated to address the concerns, problems and issues involving the Livingston County Clerk, Assessor and Treasurer" (http://livingstoncountyil.gov/?pageid=231).

Macon County Finance Committee "... in cooperation with designated county officeholders and department heads, shall have oversight over cash flow, transfers, contracts, intergovernmental agreements, grants, and audit matters ... the committee shall also oversee capital equipment planning" (http://co.macon.il.us/countv-board-members.php#committees).

Macoupin County Board Rules of Order 18 is: "All expenditures made from any fund in the County Treasury involving a sum of at least $20,000 shall first require approval of a standing committee and approval of the Board and shall abide by all State procurement laws" (http://www.macoupincountyil.gov/pdf/RULES%20OF%20ORDER%2OFebruary%202013%20FINAL.pdf).

Madison County Finance and Government Operations Committee Duties and Responsibilities 6 and 7: "Authorizes and takes formal bids according to purchasing ordinance and refers bids to appropriate committees and departments for review and recommendation Approves or recommends Board approval of expenditures according to purchasing ordinance" (http://www.co.madison.il.us/BoardCommittees/Duties_Responsibilities/FinanceGovernmentOperations.shtml).

Moultrie County Budget and Finance Committee has "Control of all financial claims against the County, budget control, Federal and State Fund supervision, budget preparation and tax levies, audit and County farm operations" (http://moultriecountyil.com/members.php).

Peoria County Finance and Legislative Committee Responsibility a: "It shall exercise continuous review of revenues and expenditures and identify new or alternative revenue sources of the County" (http://www.peoriacounty.org/countyboard/committees).

St. Clair County Finance Committee Responsibilities 2, 3, and 10: "Supervise all County finances, including, but not limited to the annual budget appropriation ordinance,, tax levy, claims and expenses. Exercise continuous review of expenditures in order to preserve proper balance between budgeted amounts and expenditure amounts. Supervise the awarding of purchasing contracts for the County Board" (http://www.co.stclair.il.us/government/committees/Pages/finance.aspx).

Sangamon County Finance Committee shall: "a) have general jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to county finances; b.) act in an advisory capacity to the county auditor; c.) prepare annual budget and tax levy for the county; and d) audit and pass on all claims for interest" (http://www.co.sangamon.i1.us/Board/finance.asp).

Stephenson County Finance and Procurement Committee, among responsibilities: "Supervises the county accountant and all finances, including the annual budget" (http://www.co.stephenson.il.us/board/cmtes.asp#finance).

Government in the United States is based on a system of checks and balances, whether it be federal, state, or local. In questioning the County Clerk's acceptance of a higher bid over a lower, the County Board and the Claims Committee were acting as part of this system and expressing their responsibility to be good stewards over taxpayer money. I want to applaud them in their effort. Each and every elected official of Crawford County should be held responsible to the taxpayers and voters of this county.



Christine Blair

Robinson





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