Email, committee minutes show 'read-only' access to Madison County financials was discussed last year

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | May 1, 2019


Faccin and Prenzler  

Madison County officials entered three exhibits showing Auditor Rick Faccin agreed that read-only access was appropriate for designated county administrators. 

Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler entered the exhibits into evidence on April 23 in a lawsuit filed by Faccin seeking to prevent access to county financials. 

Faccin seeks an injunction of a March 20 resolution ordering the auditor to allow the Madison County Board and a number of officials access to the software used to track county financial information. The county board passed the resolution by a party line vote of 13-12 with Republicans  carrying the majority. 

One of the exhibits included an email to Madison County Administrator Doug Hulme, John L. Thompson and Prenzler from chief deputy auditor Jennifer Zoelzer on July 10, 2018, discussing the fiscal year 2017 audit, redacted balance sheet account numbers, and a request for ‘read only’ access to financial records. 

“Also, as I explained on the phone we have been working towards your request for ‘read only’ access,” the email states. “We have identified the issues that are present with regard to the HIPA (sic) and PII and will be working with the software vendor to address those concerns. This is not something that can be done by the audit deadline of July 28th.”

Minutes from the Finance and Government Operations Committee on June 13, 2018, includes a section on new business that addresses a discussion held regarding the audit process through Scheffel Boyle. 

“There was an extension taken out on the audit process for 30 days and we are coming to an end of the 30 days. If not resolved, fees will occur. Administration is asking for access to the general ledger software.

“The committee along with J. Thompson, R. Faccin and J. Zoelzer held discussion regarding and trying to resolve the issue to get the audit done and signed. 

“An agreement was made to have J. Thompson and D. Hulme to have access to a read only copy of the general ledger software. The committee would like to see this process done by June 28th.”

The minutes state that board member Phil Chapman made the motion that was seconded by member Tom McRae. 

A May 19, 2017, audit report by Scheffel Boyle outlines the audit process, everything provided with the audit, any disclosures, and potential mistakes or fraud.

The report states that no fraud was detected during the audit.

It also states that the county board has been provided with access to all information relevant to the financial statements as well as additional requested information. 

The report further states that the county board was provided with “unrestricted access to persons within the county from whom you determined it necessary to obtain audit evidence.”

Faccin filed suit in Madison County against the county board, Prenzler, Hulme, and Treasurer Chris Slusser following the resolution ordering the auditor to allow access to the county's USL financial system. 

The county board had declared that the system serves as the official book of accounts, and that it is essential for honest government that details be accessible by administrators. 

Faccin’s lawsuit claims information contained in the records of the auditor included medical details protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). 

The Madison County Board, Prenzler, Hulme and Slusser responded by filing a countersuit, alleging they are seeking county financial information from the USL Software System on a “read only” basis, which is allowed in all other Illinois counties. 

 

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Madison County Madison County Board Madison County Circuit Court

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