The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has completed a follow-up to its January 2019 Audit of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners (CBOEC). Based on the Board’s responses, we conclude that CBOEC has fully implemented 5 of the 19 audit recommendations, substantially implemented 5, partially implemented 5, and not implemented 4.
The purpose of the 2019 audit was to determine whether CBOEC employed sufficient financial controls to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse; whether its human resources program was designed to support its mission; and whether it maintained a contingency plan to ensure continuity of operations in the event of attack or disaster. The audit found that CBOEC spent taxpayer money on unnecessary expenses and overcharged its funders—the City of Chicago and Cook County. CBOEC also did not budget accurately for personnel, its hiring, compensation, and succession planning did not align with best practices, and some employees were not receiving benefits to which they may have been entitled. Lastly, CBOEC could not assure the public that it would be able to maintain election operations in the event of an attack or disaster.
OIG made several recommendations aimed at improving CBOEC’s fiscal administration, bringing its hiring, compensation, and employee succession programs into alignment with best practices, and establishing plans to ensure the safety and reliability of elections in the event of a catastrophe. We urge CBOEC to fully implement remaining corrective actions, including,
- undergoing regular independent audits,
- developing financial policies,
- requesting access to the County’s electronic financial system,
- eliminating its non-payroll checking account or implementing a centralized financial system,
- documenting a cost allocation framework in an intergovernmental agreement with the City and County,
- developing information systems controls that segregate payroll duties,
- issuing refunds to the City and former hourly employees for payroll miscalculations,
- conducting an organization-wide staffing analysis, and
- developing a comprehensive hiring policy that defines hiring roles.
“The accuracy and reliability of CBOEC, and in turn, and as amplified by electoral controversies nationally, the election process as a whole is of critical importance to the City and its residents,” said Inspector General Joe Ferguson. “We commend CBOEC on the operational improvements it has made. However, to fully develop its administration to align with best practices, the Board still needs to act on our recommendations concerning undergoing regular independent audits, documenting a cost allocation framework, and developing financial policies that provide for proper management of City and County funds.”
The full report can be found online: bit.ly/TheCBOECFollowUp
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The mission of the independent and non-partisan City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to promote economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity by identifying corruption, waste, and mismanagement in City government. OIG is a watchdog for the taxpayers of the City and has jurisdiction to conduct investigations and audits into most aspects of City government. If you see corruption, fraud, or waste of any kind, we need to hear from you. For more information, visit our website at: www.igchicago.org.