Auditor Referendum

The Peoria County Board voted to include a referendum on the March 20, 2018 primary ballot that if passed would change the office of the Auditor from an elected position to an appointed position. This was voted on at the December 14, 2017 board meeting. Links to the agenda, with supporting documents, as well as the video and audio of the board meeting discussion, are provided below.

December 14, 2017 Agenda (PDF) (page 228)

December 14, 2017 Board Meeting Video and Audio

Ballot Language

The exact wording that will appear on the ballot is as follows:

Shall the elected Office of the Peoria County Auditor be eliminated, effective December 1, 2018, and replaced with a professional County Auditor qualified and appointed by the County Board with a 5-year term during which such appointed County Auditor can only be removed from office for malfeasance or official misconduct?

Public Meetings

We invite you to attend a public meeting regarding the referendum. County staff will give a brief overview, and there will be time for questions and answers. County Board Members will be on hand to discuss. No need to RSVP. 

March 12 at 6 pm
Mossville Jr High/Elementary School
12207 N Galena Rd, Mossville
Hosted by District 13 Board Member James Fennell

March 13 at 6 pm
George Washington Carver Center
710 W 3rd Street, Peoria
Hosted by District 3 Board Member Barry John Robinson

March 15 at 6 pm
St. Philomena Catholic Church
1000 W Albany Ave, Peoria
Hosted by District 6 Board Member G. Allen Mayer

Office Qualifications, Duties, and Independence

Should the measure pass, the Peoria County Board intends to add Article VI to the Peoria County Code of Ordinances to govern the Auditor's Office. 

Peoria County Code of Ordinances 
Chapter 2 Administration

Article VI County Auditor (NEW) 

Section 2-100 Intent
The intent of Article VI, is to codify the County Auditor as a professional, independent, appointed officer for Peoria County.  The County Auditor serves as the chief audit executive responsible for the internal audit activity of Peoria County.

Section 2-101 Qualifications

A. There shall be minimum qualifications to be eligible for the position at the time of appointment.  To be eligible for appointment an applicant shall:

1. possess at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting or similar field of study.

2. possess one or more of the following professional certifications as certified by the applicant to the Peoria County Board Chairperson:

a. Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

b. Licensed or Registered Public Accountant (CPA)

c. Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP)

3. have a minimum of four (4) years of auditing experience, preferably in the public sector.

B. If the County Auditor is not a resident of Peoria County at the time of appointment, then the County Auditor shall become a resident of Peoria County within six (6) months of his or her appointment.

Section 2-102 Appointment and Vacancies

A. Appointment

  1. The County Auditor shall be appointed by the Peoria County Board Chairperson with the advice and consent of a majority of the County Board Members present.
  2. The County Auditor shall take the same oath of office as is required of other county officers in Article XIII, Section 3 of the Illinois Constitution.
  3. The appointment shall be for a term of five (5) years beginning on the date of the oath of the County Auditor is filed with the County Clerk.
  4. There shall be no limit on the number of terms a qualified person may be appointed County Auditor.

B. Vacancies

  1. In case of a vacancy in the office of County Auditor caused by death, resignation, or removal from office, a new County Auditor with a new five-year term shall be appointed.
  2. The County Auditor is authorized to appoint a deputy auditor to act on behalf of the County Auditor when he or she is absent from the office for a short time, but in no case more than 60 days, due to vacation, minor illness or the like.
  3. In case of an extended absence of more than 60 days the Chairperson may appoint, with the advice and consent of the County Board, a person to serve as Acting County Auditor until either a successor has been appointed and qualified or the incumbent returns to office as County Auditor.

Section 2-103 Removal

A. The County Board, by a vote of 2/3 of its members, may remove the County Auditor before the expiration of his or her term only for official misconduct or malfeasance in the performance of the duties of the office. Whenever the County Board removes the County Auditor, it shall specify its reasons in writing.

B. The dismissed County Auditor may, within 21 days after receipt of the statement of reasons for removal, request a hearing before the County Board. The County Board shall conduct a hearing within 30 days of a timely request, and may reverse the removal by a vote of a majority of the members present.

Section 2-104 Compensation and Appropriations

A. The annual compensation for the County Auditor shall be set at the time of appointment.  The annual compensation for the County Auditor cannot be diminished during the term of the County Auditor.

B. The County Board shall not decrease or eliminate the budgetary appropriations for the office of the County Auditor during the term of the County Auditor.

C. The County Auditor may, if necessary, commence an action in the Circuit Court of Peoria County to enforce the provisions of this Section.

Section 2-105 Reporting Relationship

A. The County Auditor shall report to the County Board’s Audit Committee as designated in the Peoria County Board’s Rules of Order, as amended. The County Auditor shall have direct and unrestricted access to the Audit Committee.

B. This reporting relationship between the County Auditor and the Audit Committee is intended to create organization independence as required in the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards):

  1. The purpose, authority, and responsibility of the internal audit activity must be formally defined in an internal audit charter, consistent with the appropriate professional standards. The County Auditor must periodically review the internal audit charter and present it to the Audit Committee for approval.
  2. The County Auditor must confirm, at least annually, to the Audit Committee the organizational independence of the internal audit activity.

C. Although the County Auditor reports to the Audit Committee, the County Auditor shall control the internal operations of his or her office and may procure equipment, materials, and services necessary to perform the duties of the office, subject to the budgetary appropriations established by the County Board

Section 2-106 Powers and Duties

A. The Counties Code establishes the powers and duties for elected County Auditors in the State of Illinois. Several of these duties are, however, applicable and appropriate for an appointed professional County Auditor.  However, other duties for elected County Auditors listed in the Counties Code for counties the size of Peoria County are incompatible with the independence required of an internal auditor pursuant to the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing or for a government auditor pursuant to Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards.

B. The County Auditor shall have the following powers and duties:

1. Pre-payment audit of claims against the County.  This shall include, but not be limited to, reviewing and testing of:

a. claims to be paid by the County to its vendors;

b., compliance with the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, when applicable; and,

c. compliance with the Peoria County Travel Policy.

2. Auditing of receipts of all county officers and departments presented to the County Treasurer for deposit.

3. Maintain the internal audit activity of the operations and financial records of the officers, agents, and divisions of Peoria County Government pursuant to a risk-based internal audit plan. 

C. The County Auditor shall have access to all records, documents, and resources necessary for the discharge of the powers and duties established by this Section.  Any limitation or restrictions on access by the County Auditor to records or documents should be promptly reported to the Audit Committee.

D. The internal audit activity must be free from interference in determining the scope of internal auditing, performing work, and communicating results. The County Auditor must disclose such interference to the Audit Committee and discuss the implications.

Section 2-107 Professionalism

A. Ethics, objectivity, and independence.

  1. The County Auditor must conform with the standards related to individual objectivity, proficiency, and due professional care and the standards relevant to the performance of their job responsibilities such as the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing or Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards.
  2. Prohibition on certain political activities during term of office. During his or her term the County Auditor shall not:

a. become a candidate for any elective office;

b. be actively involved in the affairs of any political party or political organization; or

c. advocate for the appointment of another person to an appointed or elected office or position or actively participate in any campaign for any elective office.

Violation of this prohibition on certain political activities during the County Auditor’s term of office shall be malfeasance in the performance of the duties of the office sufficient for removal from office under Section 2-103.

B. Continuing professional development.

  1. The County Auditor must enhance his or her knowledge, skills, and other competencies through continuing professional development.
  2. The County Auditor shall maintain his or her professional competence through continuing professional education (CPE) sufficient to maintain one or more of the professional certifications required in Section 2-101.  The County Auditor should obtain a minimum of 20 hours of relevant CPE annually.
  3. The County Auditor must develop and maintain a quality assurance and improvement program that covers all aspects of the internal audit activity, including both include both internal and external assessments.

a. An external assessment should be conducted at least one during the five-year term of the County Auditor.

b. The County Auditor should communicate the results of the quality assurance and improvement program to the Audit Committee.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the County Auditor do?

The County Auditor is an elected official and serves a four-year term. This office performs pre-payment audits on all claims against the County. The Auditor’s office verifies the accuracy of claims submitted and the authority for expenditures. It then recommends payment or rejection of all invoices.

For example, let’s say IT purchases office supplies and the company sends an invoice. The Auditor’s Office looks over the invoice and makes sure certain items are in order, such as no sales tax was paid and the person who made the purchase had the spending authority to do so. If the bill is accurate, they then recommend payment of the bill.

The Auditor’s Office has other responsibilities:

  • Continuous, ongoing internal audits of Operations
  • Financial records of all officers, agents, or divisions of the county
  • Determining Vendor Compliance with Prevailing Wage requirements
  • Audit, approve, and maintain the Vendor database of County Vendors
  • Verification of the physical presence of County assets through audit
  • Audit of receipts of all County officers, and departments deposited with the County Treasurer
  • Review and verification of adherence to the appropriate County ordinance and/or state statute

Who is the current County Auditor?

The Peoria County Auditor is currently an elected position. However, Kent Rotherham was appointed to the position in 2017 after the resignation of Carol Van Winkle. He will hold the position until November 30, 2018, when either the position would become an appointed position due to the referendum passing, or if it should fail, a new auditor would be elected on November 6, 2018.

Why did the County Board put the referendum on the ballot?

We invite you to watch the discussion at the December 14, 2017 board meeting. The board’s discussion of the referendum begins at approximately 14:35 on the video:

Doesn’t an outside firm also do an audit each year?

Yes, this is called an external audit, and is different from the internal audits that the County Auditor’s office does. State and local governments are accountable to a variety of stakeholders such as creditors, regulatory agencies, citizens and their elected representatives. The external auditor’s function is to assure stakeholders of the government’s financial reports that those reports are reliable and are in compliance with current auditing and accounting standards. An internal auditor is to help the county function more efficiently and effectively and to play a critical role in establishing and maintaining a comprehensive framework of internal control.

Need more information?

Peoria County Administration may educate the public on the referendum. Staff shall not advocate for or against the referendum. Members of the public are encouraged to speak with their board representative, call County Administration with questions at (309) 672-6056, or fill out our Contact Us Form.