* We’re coming a bit late to this story. Sorry about that…
An independent review of the Illinois state treasurer’s office released Monday found problems with internship hiring that favored those with political connections and other programs in need of overhaul.
Democrat Mike Frerichs, having reached the symbolic benchmark 100 days in office, released the results of the audit he promised after becoming the state’s chief investment officer in January. He said he will closely review the report’s recommendations and emphasized initiatives on which he has embarked. […]
The report highlighted a paid internship program that gave positions to young people with connections to influential politicians, campaign donors and lobbyists. The “clout-heavy” program had no formal procedures for how the interns were recruited or managed, the audit said. […]
The report also found that a scholarship framework funded by fees from the office’s college savings program lacks basic management rules. Frerichs’ office said 300 scholarships averaging $1,000 were awarded after 2006 without proper record-keeping, management and distribution.
* From an SJ-R editorial…
Between May and September 2012, Rutherford’s office spent $158,504 to pay 51 interns. From May to September 2013, the office spent $170,936 to pay 58 interns.
Rutherford announced his candidacy for governor in June 2013. A 2014 report in the Chicago Sun-Times that looked at the identities of the interns found that many were referred by elected officials, lobbyists, donors and political workers.
Rutherford denied that clout had anything to do with who received summer jobs. Unfortunately, there was little documentation to conclude that it didn’t, either.
The same can be said for the home-based “community affairs” treasurer employees who, according to Frerichs, were not properly supervised, who cost the state more in mileage reimbursements than office-based workers would have, and who were not effectively sited around the state. Without proper recordkeeping, it’s impossible to gauge their value or to know what they were doing on state time.
* Tom Kacich…
But the review also noted that Frerichs may want to consider increasing the number of employees in cash management (now one) and investment (four) “as Illinois appears to have fewer employees dedicated to these functions than other states.”
It also suggested that the office’s information technology is outdated.
“The systems in place today were created 15-20 years ago through internal staff design and development. These systems were built based on the business processes that existed at the time, were designed and developed individually, and enhanced over time as resources were available,” Plante Moran said. “This has created systems that operate in silos, do not share data, and are not allowing the business to become more efficient through the use of technology.”
* Illinois Radio Network…
Frerichs says an audit – conducted by a firm which volunteered its services – showed not enough accountability in the unclaimed property program and not enough oversight of treasurer’s employees working from their homes. And then there’s another problem.
“The office was named” in the sexual harassment suit against Frerichs’ predecessor, Dan Rutherford. Frerichs continued, “I’ve inherited this. We’re working with the attorney general’s office, trying to reach a resolution soon – we’re trying to – well, that’s probably all my attorney wants me to say about pending lawsuits, litigation.”