UPDATE County Board: A chance to change

Quote from Special Agent Patrick Bohrer, assistant section chief Public Corruption/Civil Rights program at FBI Headquarters.

“We depend greatly on assistance from the public. So let me end by saying, if anyone out there has any information about potential wrongdoing by a public official, please submit a tip online or contact your local FBI field office.
Your help really makes a difference.

Contact Information Field Office Springfield Illinois – Central Illinois

Springfield Division
900 East Linton Avenue Springfield, IL 62703
(217) 522-9675

Contact information Field Office Chicago Illinois – Northern Region Illinois

2111 W. Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60608
Phone: (312) 421-6700
Fax: (312) 829-5732/38
E-mail: Chicago@ic.fbi.gov

 

By:  Diane Benjamin

McLean County is the LEAST Transparent if any local government agency.  Everything is a secret.  Their Public Comment policy is illegal.  If citizens want to speak at the next board meeting about something not on the agenda, they have to send a request to the County Administrator 5 DAYS before the meeting.  (See County Board rules – starting on page 14  http://www.mcleancountyil.gov/index.aspx?nid=464)  I thought they fixed it, but the policy is still on their website.

It gets worse.  Let’s say 50 sign up to just say “Quit now Matt”, the chair can shut off public comment for being repetitive.  Peasants have no rights before their overlords.  Speakers have only 3 minutes each and a total of  15 minutes, also illegal.

Who has been in charge and creating all the darkness?  The same guy who has known for at least three years he was being investigated by the FBI after being fired from State Farm.  The same guy who has been covering for other elected officials – like County Auditor Michelle Anderson.  https://blnnews.com/2013/04/30/mclean-county-government-corruption/

By the way, Anderson is up for election and unopposed in the primary.  Celebrate now.  Stop by her office and see the new furniture and artwork she bought with your money.  https://blnnews.com/2014/04/16/1079-78-for-art-michelle-anderson/

I’ve heard from many people the Feds don’t file charges unless they can convict.  We know State Farm fired Sorensen and McKinsey & Company – the employer of Matt’s alleged co-conspirator.  We know State Farm contacted the FBI.  We know the details of the case:  https://blnnews.com/2016/01/05/sorensen-grand-jury-indictment/

The Board members who haven’t called for his resignation evidently haven’t read the details.  Citizens have no proof Sorensen isn’t running the same scheme using the East-side Bypass and jail construction.  The Board members and County Administrator don’t either.  The Board already has a member fined $11,275 for failure to file campaign reports (Ben Owens), he should go too.  How can a Board member manage millions of dollars without the ability to handle campaign funds properly?  Be careful Ben, I still have the comment you posted on my site years ago and the email exchange that followed.  He just settled with the State for $5,637.50.

The Illinois Policy Institute issued a 10-point checklist for government transparency.  Renner loves to brag about Bloomington getting an award for transparency, the County has a score of “F”.  See this link for explanations:  http://www.illinoispolicy.org/10-point-transparency-checklist/

Citizens have a RIGHT to know how their dollars are spent.  With Sorensen in charge, they didn’t.  Why?  What was he hiding?

I’m appalled at the comments made by most of the Board members.  Owens proved why he is unfit to serve:  “It takes very little to get indicted”?  Owens and former Judge Caisley obviously didn’t get the facts before opening their mouths.

We will see whether the “good ole boys” club allows Sorensen to continue as Chair.  We will see if the Pantagraph is going to circle the wagons to protect one of their own.

Maybe we will even see how much mud falls off Sorensen and onto his buddies.

Having an “F” transparency score means the County doesn’t want you to know what they are doing.  This is a great opportunity to quit covering up illegal and questionable activities and start acting like public servants for a change.

If they don’t, they need replaced!  You deserve better.

16 thoughts on “UPDATE County Board: A chance to change

  1. I am a former member of the County Board. While serving on the Board I had discovered one of the elected officials was paying overtime to an employee who was not qualified for overtime and was not paying overtime to employees who were qualified for overtime even though they worked hours greater than a normal work week. (http://www.pantagraph.com/news/former-deputy-clerk-files-suit-against-peggy-ann-milton/article_fad0738e-762c-5283-9c20-329e31a7734c.html). I was indignant and submitted a FOIA for time sheets, payroll records, and being a newly elected Board Member I addressed my concerns to Chairman Sorenson. He, basically, said to cancel the FOIA and sweep it under the rug as it will (My words, not his) “hurt the party.”

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  2. Dear FBI Chicago Office:
    Please come investigate The Town of Normal, City of Bloomington and Mc Lean County government entities for numerous allegations of ethics and corruption include all elected officials and all three administers.

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  3. Hey, is anybody else connecting these dots . . . That Clifton, Larson, an accounting auditing firm, bought a local firm. Yes, the independent accounting auditors are coming to town. Local firms kinda stopped doing audits awhile ago because they were labor intensive, Continuing Education intensive, and basically unprofitable work.

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  4. Okay, this is for jf and it’s a long post that won’t be directly related to Sorenson topic.

    Auditing involves a team of CPAs going to a client’s site to do such things as: inspect their bookkeeping records, verify they have cash controls (rules/procedures in place for how employees handle cash), verify different account balances, have a client produce different records/receipts/invoices. Sometimes the team can be there five days straight so travel and hotel is involved. CPA’s have to take classes during the year to maintain their audit ability which is required by the state of IL and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA.) The classes alone can cost annually about $1,200-$2,400 for one person. The paperwork to file w/the state is also a pain. All that . . . traveling to client site, lugging in your laptops, your printers, setting shit up, dealing w/stupid clients who like to “play games” (there’s always somebody trying to hide something . . . usually their afraid of their extreme ignorance, stupidity and incompetence coming to light, they try to hide their errors, or hide that they didn’t know how to book something , or even still . . . they try to play dumb as if they didn’t know when really they do and they’re up to no good. So they waste your time. And they act like they think it’s fun for you to travel and come to their site . . . like they’re special and you care. All that for a flat fee that when it’s all said and done . . . the CPA firm might actually lose because the fee charged won’t cover their expenses. Typically the flat fee is kinda low because for some reason . . . people “balk” at paying for this service. Some firms continue to take on audit work because it gives them some assignments to send fresh, newly-minted CPA’s out into the field for work during off-season . . . you don’t typically see a group of 5-10 year employees out there trudging like that. Keeps ’em busy and keeps ’em under your employ until tax season.

    Audit work can involve uncovering people’s misdeeds. So, then, on top of all the other crap . . . people might kinda hate you. They want to blame the auditor for “making them look bad.” There’s alot of psychology goin’ on w/audit work. Some people who cheat and steal try to be all “schmoozy” and friendly, thinking that no one will suspect them because they’re so nice . . . so, uh, I don’t know . . . charming, if you will. And some people will try to bluster and bully or drag their feet getting you the records, thinking maybe you’ll give up and move on to looking at something else or just forget.

    Any more though, it’s pretty standard and everybody knows what an auditor will ask to see. The auditors are in and they’re out. Kinda phoned in, but to get it done and move on. They don’t actually want to find anything . . . and I would think locally, since the smaller CPA firms partners might mix/mingle w/the crowd they’re expected to audit . . . they’re definitely disincentivized to find anything negative. They might see these people, say like your local politicos, out socially. It’s kinda a job where it’s better to not live/socialize with those you’re expected to scrutinize and report your findings.

    I only know all this because I used to wear a Clifton Gunderson sweatshirt that I picked up at a garage sale. And I like to know something about a workplace logo sweatshirt if I’m gonna wear it. You’d be surprised at random people asking questions about a workplace logo . . . wanting to know what it is.

    Well, probably nothing will come of it. Someone has to pay to retain their services, and if the City is being audited . . . you bet your boots they’re gonna hire someone who’ll play softball. I wonder though if there’s a way a citizens’ committee can retain audit services . . . pay for it through like a go-fund-me type situation . . . well, sorry so long. I think that’ll be adequate for now. (to Diane . . . I hope you’re okay w/this layperson’s humble account of auditing basics:)

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    1. Not bad. I’d aad one thing. The audit reports make it clear that management is responsible for making sure fraud does not exist. The audit is not intended to detect fraud, it might accidentally, but it might not. The only way to see what is really going on is to do a forensic audit. Expensive and very time consuming and rarely done.

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      1. Ok, we all agree with “everyone is innocent until proven guilty” in our system of jurisprudence. This guarantees people the right to a fair and impartial hearing granted by our constitution. It does NOT, however, acquit people in the court of public opinion. It is the responsibility of we the people to vet our public officials because we have been entrusted with the task of electing people of integrity to serve us. Those who keep spouting this line of “innocent until proven guilty” (Jason Chambers, members of the McLean Co Board and their pals at the Pantycrap) are making a total mockery of our system of government. It’s clear they do not understand that while our system of government and our system of jurisprudence are related, they are separate branches of government. Why would someone with a list of federal indictments as long as Matt Sorensen want to stay on the county board? It’s clear he feels his position on the county board is a right and not a privilege granted to him by the voters. What good could possibly come from his continuing “service”? How can one not look at this list of indictments and not wonder if the same things isn’t also happening in McLean County or Bloomington / Normal. Especially considering their penchant for outside consultants and studies and a continuing refusal to open the books in the midst of a stack of FOI requests.

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      2. Well said. State Farm, Matt’s employer, and Mercer County DIDN’t wait for him to found guilty. The rest of us are expected to. Sorenesen is making a mockery of the County Board by not immediately resigning. The rest of the Board not demanding his resignation are equally guilty. Jason Chambers is running for reelection. He is standing with the establishment instead of the people. Remember that.

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    2. Thanks for the explanation. After reading it, I did know about audits and what they do but I never thought about the psychology involved. I can definitely see how it would happen and how local firms would be more likely to overlook stuff.

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