The discovery recount for the auditor’s race concluded on Wednesday. I appreciate the efforts of the County Clerk’s staff to perform the required retabulations. Illinois recount law was created to allow a mechanism that reinforces our faith in the democratic process. It sets an election performance threshold to permit only petitioners with close races to invoke it. In a two-person race, one would need to be within 2.56% of the presumed winner. With a spread of 0.04%, the auditor’s race was 64 times closer than this requirement and thus warranted further investigation.
The relevant statute governing this process is insufficient to ensure–and in some ways even impedes–true discovery. Illinois recount discovery–at least as interpreted by the county clerk–requires two prerequisites: the re-sorting of all early votes and mail-in ballots to their home precincts and their retabulation by the same kind of machines that performed the initial tabulation. Retabulation is limited to uncovering inconsistencies between machines. Indeed, as indicated on the Clerk’s online summary, there were some. However, the real question is to what extent the optical scanners would give a result that differs from that of a visual inspection, i.e., a hand count. Unfortunately, the law treats a second tabulation as standard but refers to a hand count as “redundant”, even though the latter is the only way to verify that scanners have accurately recorded the intentions of voters. Illinois law also requires the petitioning candidate to pay any “additional costs” associated with a hand count. The County Clerk could not provide an estimate of the staff time my campaign would then be compelled to pay.
I eschewed a hand count of my chosen sample precincts, but with the help of dedicated volunteers, I obtained enough information to infer approximately what one would unveil. I do not think that a full manual recount would reverse the official election result and therefore I do not seek to contest this election in the courts.
A huge “Thank you” to everyone who helped me on this campaign—both before and after November 8th! It was a great honor to elicit your support and I hope that my oh-so-close campaign is nonetheless rewarding for you, as it was for me.
Happy New Year!
He has Deputy Auditor sign Annual Financial Report as “CPA”, but legally cannot do so
Champaign, IL Nov 1, 2016: The office of current Champaign County Auditor John Farney violates Illinois Public Act 095-0386 by holding out his Chief Deputy Auditor as a Certified Public Accountant on the first page of each of the three following Champaign County Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (2013 through 2015):
Farney has also explicitly made this declaration in his News-Gazette candidate questionnaire by referring to:
“My chief deputy, Barbara Ramsay, CPA, is an internationally respected government accountant…”
As the Illinois CPA Society states,
“In 2006, it became law that in order for anyone to hold themselves out as a CPA to the public in Illinois, they must have an active license or registration with the IDFPR [Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation].”
John Farney’s Chief Deputy Auditor is not registered in the IDFPR, as can be ascertained online:
The Champaign County Chief Deputy Auditor had no history of holding herself out as a CPA at her prior position as Director of Finance for Champaign Unit Four Schools, for which she issued financial reports:
This could suggest that the Auditor is constraining his own deputy to accede to his inflation of her credentials, thereby putting her at risk (though not himself – he’s not an accountant) of appearing to violate both Illinois state law and the “Acts Discreditable Rule” of the accounting profession’s Code of Conduct:
Moreover, Farney has broken faith with the County Board by disregarding their requirement that a CPA be the Accounting Manager (policy shown in the illustration above as well as here
When I am auditor, I will make sure that all Continuing Professional Education requirements are met and that both my accounting manager and I keep our licenses current. This is the expectation of the county, which has spent nearly $20,000 on the auditor’s office in the last four years for conferences and professional dues—without avail so far.
See the middle of page 78 (digital page 100) of the County Budget
for this expectation:
The largest non-personnel expense is for conferences & training. The County Auditor is required byhttps://www.champaigncountyclerk.com/county_board/budgetshttps://www.champaigncountyclerk.com/county_board/budgets/2016/2016_budget_full.pdf
state statute to receive 20 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) annually, and the Chief
Deputy Auditor is required to receive 40 hours of CPE training annually to maintain a CPA title.
As the News-Gazette dutifully reported after the September 29 Candidate Forum (View Here), I noted that sitting auditor Farney’s Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) had a missing $12.4 Million component, so that its Assets — Liabilities did not come to the Net Position. Farney proudly signed this document, without carefully reading it.
He took my advice and found the large mistake, but he did so without running any erratum—or even redating the document. Both the Before and After versions are dated September 4.
The original PAFR can be seen here: pafr2015. Go to digital page 10 to see the original, flawed, and internally inconsistent Statement of Net Position.
Farney’s redacted PAFR is now on the Champaign County Auditor’s website.
John Farney claimed in this News-Gazette article that he caught Joe Meents’ use of the taxpayer-owned county credit card “within one bill cycle” and yet Aaron Bennett of WCIA got the credit card billings and proves otherwise. Joe Meents purchased such items as Illini basketball tickets and Ruby Tuesday’s meals well unto January!
Not only would I have closely monitored (and curtailed the distribution) of county-issued credit cards, I would have confiscated this particular card upon discovery. It’s high time to have an accountant as Auditor. One who audits.