The state's top auditor called for a criminal probe of the Cook County regional education office after an audit found the director, Charles Flowers, repeatedly used a government credit card for personal expenses and approved questionable payments to relatives on his payroll. Click this link to read the full story:
Here's a summary of the audit's major findings:
The audit concluded that Regional Office of Education #14:
· had inadequate internal control over disbursements. Because of the overall lack of internal controls, questions as to the accuracy and completeness of the general ledger, and problems noted in other findings throughout this report, auditors terminated work before testing was completed and issued a disclaimer of opinion on the financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2008.
· did not have sufficient internal controls over the financial reporting process.
· had liabilities which exceeded its total net assets by $941,844. If the Regional Office continues to operate at the current level without obtaining additional funding or decreasing expenditures, ROE 14’s ability to continue as a going concern is questionable.
· utilized an accounting software package which was not designed for governmental entities and did not provide the internal controls and reporting features required for proper fund accounting.
· did not complete 9 of 12 monthly reconciliations of its bank statements and pooled cash accounts for fiscal year 2008.
· had inadequate controls over property and equipment.
· did not record payroll transactions in their general ledger for 5 months in fiscal year 2008 after they hired an outside agency to prepare their payroll.
· provided cash advances to two employees (Barbara Flowers and Arbdella Patterson) for non-business related purposes.
· paid a total of $1,798 in finance charges, late fees and other miscellaneous service charges on 6 credit cards.
· did not have receipts to support 70 percent of charges on the Regional Superintendent’s credit card. The Regional Superintendent also made numerous personal purchases, took cash advances, and paid for meals (both personal and for staff) on his credit card without properly documenting the purchases and advances.
· paid two Assistant Regional Superintendents $12,000 and $9,400 each in addition to their regular salaries for work completed during regular working hours.
· used Institute Funds for unallowable expenditures under 105 ILCS 5/3-12.