By Howard Packowitz
BLOOMINGTON – A dispute became public Wednesday night about a sudden change in bookkeeping practices of McLean County government finances.
The McLean County Board’s Finance Committee is recommending the full board allow County Administrator Camille Rodriguez to hire an independent Certified Public Accountant to review procedures carried out by County Auditor Michelle Anderson.
In a memo, Rodriguez said Anderson did not consult the county board before changing the government’s traditional method of booking revenues and expenses.
County Treasurer Rebecca McNeil told committee members the auditor is slow to send her invoices so the county can pay its bills.
“I encourage you to get an external opinion to come in, but more importantly to come in and look how the transactions have been reported,” McNeil said.
Anderson is believed to be out-of-state to undergo a medical procedure.
Board Chairman John McIntrye called Anderson’s action an arbitrary move coming at a crucial time when county leaders should be focused on preparing next year’s budget.
“We’ve got to run this county, and we don’t have to take the time to do this when we’re trying to do budgets, and all the other things. That’s ridiculous for us to be doing that,” McIntyre said.
Finance Committee member Carlo Robustelli described the situation as “stunning.”
“I don’t know why we’re here at 7 o’clock at night during budget season, at the fourth quarter of a fiscal year dealing with this,” Robustelli said.
“I don’t know what to do,” he added.
Committee members want a legal opinion from State’s Attorney Don Knapp’s office whether the county board has the authority to direct Anderson, an elected official, to return to traditional bookkeeping practices.
Finance Chairman Jim Soeldner said the committee is only concerned that bill-paying and accounting practices continue to function “smoothly and efficiently.”
Howard Packowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org