HARRISBURG — During a special meeting of the Saline County Board on Thursday, members will discuss a potential audit of an unidentified county office.
Stephen Carns, the board's parliamentarian, said he could not delve into the specifics of which office was under scrutiny, but said in the last four to six months, red flags have been thrown up regarding taxpayer money.
“There are indications that there may be funds that have not been properly accounted for,” Carns said.
He said the allegations are “serious” and that there are a “sufficient number of board members” on various committees who have concerns that county money has been mishandled.
Carns said he did not call the meeting, but did sign a petition to have the meeting called — he said a minimum of five members have to sign off on special meetings. The other four signatures were from commissioners Mike McKinnes, Joe Jackson, Benny Gibbs and Roger Craig.
Carns said he believed there would be time during the meeting for a representative from the accused office to address the board, however he was not sure of the specific agenda.
“I’m sure that the board would seek input with the office they are concerned with,” he said.
Carns did say that through such discussion the board could decide not to proceed with the proposed forensic audit, however he said he did not see this as likely.
“At this point in time, I believe the board would probably proceed with a full audit just simply to allay any concerns,” Carns said.
Carns said he knows board members have contacted several firms, but said he is unaware if a particular audit team has been chosen should the board vote to proceed.
Should the board vote to move forward with the audit, it would be only the most recent in a series of such investigations in Southern Illinois.
On Aug. 24, the FBI raided Zeigler’s City Hall, targeting treasurer Ryan Thorpe’s office, prompting the City Council to place him on administrative leave during a special meeting that very day. Details are sparse regarding the specifics of that investigation.
Similarly, earlier this year, newly-elected Franklin County Circuit Clerk Jim Muir called for a special forensic audit of his office after he could not adequately complete a past due state-required exit audit because of missing files.
Also, in 2016, Kindra Eickelman, 49, was ordered to pay $37,403 in restitution to cover the $23,121 she took from the Franklin County circuit clerk’s office between 2012 and 2014. Eickleman pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct and one count of theft of between $10,000 and $100,000. She was arrested in 2014 after leaving her post and admitting to stealing from the office.
Saline County’s special meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in the county board room at the Saline County Courthouse.