By: Diane Benjamin
Last night Stan Nord proved again why he was elected. His comments weren’t until the end of the Council meeting: 1:49:05.
The Town of Normal has leases that do not benefit taxpayers. One of these leases is set to automatically renew in December. I believe he was talking about Wild Country, they only pay property taxes – no rent. Stan wants a Council discussion on this lease before it renews again without a vote. He wants Normal to find additional revenue from sources other than raising taxes.
Next Stan read from two articles in a publication from the Illinois Municipal League. Long time readers know I am not a fan of the IML even if they do occasionally something right. These two articles were a “something right”.
Remember when Chris Koos would attempt to stifle Stan and tell him his job was like being a member of a Board of Directors? Stan’s job wasn’t to pry into day-to-day operations? According to Koos, Stan was only there to set policy.
The two IML articles discussed fraud and theft in local government. One specifically stated that elected officials like Stan need to question operations. The example of Dixon Illinois was used. It was made clear that audits are not created to detect fraud.
Quote from IML: Perhaps the best safeguard at the monitoring stage is the City Council or Board of Trustees. Board members have the advantage of being outsiders to a certain degree. They can look at data from a different perspective and ask questions about any transaction that seems questionable. Boards should not rubber stamp, they should be watchdogs.
Stan then read a short excerpt from another article about fraud. The point was safeguards need to be in place to prevent it from happening, even to small things like filling a personal vehicle with gas using a government credit card. It reiterated the fact that CPA’s merely give an opinion of financials statements, they aren’t looking for fraud.
Summary from this article: Three of the three cases current being prosecuted had an audit every year. Three of the three cases had decent internal controls. Three of the three employers thought they had great long term employees. Government needs to quit thinking fraud is always someone else’s problem.
Stan’s comments were not to accuse anyone. He merely wanted his fellow Trustees to read what the IML gave them. After he spoke Chris Koos actually called the Council watchdogs!
Does this mean Koos realizes he lost the war he was waging against Stan and Karyn when they were first elected?
This was easily the best part of the meeting because it wasn’t Stan saying what his job as Trustee is, it was the Illinois Municipal League saying it. All Illinois governments rely on the opinions of the IML since this organization usually works for government, not citizens.
this is the lease Stan is questioning: 203 S Linden Lease
Of course there is a lot else to cover (later). For now, enjoy this part of the meeting: