Audit Spurs Lisle Park District to Action Leaders Pledge Changes in Accounting, Management
Pyke, Marni, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Lisle park commissioners say they plan sweeping changes after two consultants reported instances of careless accounting practices, low staff morale and a top-heavy management structure.
The reports are the latest blow to a district that has been reeling since spring when officials began investigating alleged financial wrongdoing. The internal probe ended in the resignation of Director Kim Paetschow and the departure of three other high- level administrators.
In September, DuPage County prosecutors charged Paetschow with misdemeanor theft for allegedly using park staff for her personal benefit.
Commissioners hired former Elmhurst park director Mick Pope and the auditing firm of William F. Gurrie & Co. this summer to study what went wrong in Lisle.
In recent reports to the board the consultants recommended significant reforms, including:
- Hiring two more people to work in the finance department and tightening controls over distribution of checks, petty cash, travel reimbursements and purchase orders.
- Eliminating park district credit cards.
- Eliminating the positions of assistant director and director of development. Pope concluded neither job is necessary in a district the size of Lisle's.
Both positions already are vacant. Assistant Director Steve Jeffress resigned and commissioners fired Director of Development Sally Atwell in May. Jeffress has not been implicated in any wrongdoing.
- Writing consistent policies governing distribution of complimentary passes to district facilities, including River Bend Golf Course.
The auditors noted that between the time the golf course opened in March to Aug. 1, 433 complimentary rounds of golf were played, costing the district $6,183.
- Writing comprehensive job descriptions and hiring people with appropriate degrees.
Pope found some managers don't have degrees in either recreation or finance. Finance Director Lisa Leone, for example, has a bachelor's degree in psychology.
- Forming a consistent policy regarding salaries and raises. The district is fighting former development director Atwell's attempts to get unemployment insurance.
One of the reasons commissioners gave for firing Atwell was that she received an unauthorized salary increase from $42,000 to $46,000.
- Creating detailed manuals explaining district procedures.
- Forming citizens advisory committees to offer opinions on programs and services. …