CHICAGO (CBS) — Changes may finally be made in Lake County following a CBS 2 Investigation into questionable spending.
Tens of thousands of dollars spent on taxpayer funded credit cards. But will the new rules go far enough?
The Lake County board members are looking at altering a much criticized program that allows them to charge up to $7,000 a year on a county credit card. It’s a program the former board chairman may have abused.
The consultant who prepared a review of the Lake County’s procurement card, or P-Card Program, found a whole lot of gray areas in current spending rules of for county board members.
“Allowable spending will be exclusively for the cost related to carrying out the duties of a county board member,” said consultant Gila Bronner.
Bronner’s report found weak internal controls, missing signatures and failure to track reimbursements. That report prepared after questions about former board chairman Aaron Lawlor’s P-Card spending on hotels, meals, and ride-sharing. Illinois State Police are investigating Lawlor’s spending following his indefinite leave from the board to enter drug treatment.
Much of the talk was about what’s a legitimate expense. For example, spending on constituent services.
“We should all have the same definition of what a constituent service actually and I think that’s why we’re here today because there was no clear definition,” said board member Judy Martini.
The consultant said this about that spending limit for Lake County board members.
“Lake County’s allowance, which is a separate conversation that we’re going to get to, is very generous compared to a number of the communities that were benchmarked,” said Bronner.
The rules committee is considering whether to alter the program, how to alter it or perhaps whether to eliminate P-Cards altogether. No decision on Monday but the group will meet again on Wednesday. But their recommendations will simply be passed on to the newly-elected Lake County board for action. The new board has a Democratic majority for the first time in anyone’s memory.