Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, December 9, 2019

Prenzler, Faccin reach tentative settlement in suit over request for access to county financial system


By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jul 8, 2019

Faccin and Prenzler

Madison County Chairman Kurt Prenzler announced Monday that he and auditor Rick Faccin reached a tentative settlement in a lawsuit contesting a resolution demanding read-only access to the county financial system for certain officials.

“The tentative compromise lets us see the financial data that we need to manage the county,” Prenzler stated in a press release announcing the settlement. 

The tentative settlement will allow Prenzler and county administrator Doug Hulme the ability to view the county’s revenue and expenditures for the past 10 years. 

The resolution had originally established access for Prenzler, Hulme, Slusser, the Madison County Board, and additional unknown officials. 

“Compromise between elected officials is always in the taxpayers’ best interest,” Prenzler said.

The county’s budget process for the next fiscal year starts later this month. 

Faccin filed the suit in Madison County against the county board, Prenzler, Hulme and Slusser. He seeks an injunction of a March 20 resolution ordering the auditor to allow the county board and a number of officials access to the USL financial system 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. 

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).

In the defendants’ countersuit, they claim they are seeking county financial information from the USL system on a “read only” basis, which is allowed in all other Illinois counties.

Before the tentative settlement was reached, Faccin had sought to continue a hearing on pending motions, stating that the parties were in settlement talks. 

“The parties have been engaged in substantial settlement discussions over the last month,” the motion stated. “At the last meeting of the Board, the Board rejected plaintiff’s settlement proposal, but provided feedback on a potential resolution of this case.

“Plaintiff has accounted for the feedback from the Board and, earlier this week, made a second firm settlement offer to the Board,” it continued. “On June 28, 2019, the Board’s attorney proposed two additional changes that plaintiff agreed to, so it appears plaintiff and the Board are on the verge of an agreement.”

If the Board approves the changes and votes to settle the case, it would result in the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims, Faccin argued. 

A counterclaim filed by the county board, Prenzler, Hulme and Slusser would still remain pending, but Faccin argues that the proposed settlement“ provides virtually all of the relief requested in the counterclaim.”

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Madison County Circuit CourtMadison County AuditorMadison County Board

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