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Illinois Auditor General Releases College of DuPage Audit

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The Office of the Illinois Auditor General released today its performance audit of College of DuPage. The Illinois House of Representatives passed House Resolution No. 55 in May of 2015, asking the Auditor General to review whether the COD Board of Trustees met its financial responsibilities during Fiscal Years 2011 through 2014. The Board of Trustees voted to request the audit in April 2015 and signed an intergovernmental agreement with the Auditor General in July 2015 to commence the audit. Overall, the report makes 19 recommendations to the College, ranging from defining the fiduciary responsibilities of trustees to changing the operation of investment activity to improving the College’s contract and procurement process.

For a link to the complete Auditor General’s performance audit report, click here.  

The audit found that the COD Board of Trustees “could improve their fiduciary oversight of the College’s operations in several areas,” citing a lack of guidance regarding trustee fiduciary responsibilities and being unable to provide documentation showing an annual performance review of the president. Other key highlights of the report include findings regarding College investments, budget transfers, construction activities, procurement and contracts, and presidential compensation and severance.

“This report is an opportunity for further insights as we move forward as an institution,” said COD President Ann Rondeau, who joined the College in July of this year. “I am gratified to the Board for pursuing this level of accountability and am confident that we have been on a good path for the past year and a half.” 

“A financial audit is intended to provide an opinion on whether financial statements are materially accurate and complete,” said Trustee Charles Bernstein, who serves as chairman of the Board’s Audit Committee. “A performance audit provides assurance on whether an organization adheres to its own policies and procedures, the law, and good practices.”  

College of DuPage Board of Trustees Chairman Deanne Mazzochi views the Auditor General’s report as yet another milestone to accountability, improvement and reform.  “Think back to the College’s dark days just 18 months ago, and how much better we are today,” she said.  “We have new leadership with unquestioned ethics in Dr. Rondeau.  We have independent investment controls that are monitored in real time and assessed daily for compliance. We have implemented new, improved, transparent and competitive processes for professional services, and the College has seen cost savings as a result. We will further improve our compliance and the Board’s ability to engage in real-time oversight now that we have hired our General Counsel. We will continue our tireless efforts to restore the College of DuPage to its preeminent position in higher education.”     

Chairman Mazzochi noted that several of the Auditor General’s findings are directed to past practices and procedures of the Board itself. “Many of these items originate with problems we had identified prior to joining the Board,” said Chairman Mazzochi. “The Auditor General’s report validates those concerns.  But I am pleased the Board preemptively took action over the past year to confront these problems without waiting for the Auditor General’s report.  We further appreciate the Auditor General’s Office pinpointing new issues regarding construction expenditures.  We will solve these problems with further policy reforms.  And as Dr. Rondeau diligently investigates and addresses these items in depth, the Board will ensure we promptly eliminate the policy and oversight weaknesses the Auditor General identified.”

Among the actions already taken by the Board in fulfilling its fiduciary oversight responsibility:

  • Investigated internal control issues at the Waterleaf Restaurant.  
  • Brought in highly respected financial managers on a temporary basis to manage accounting and finance operations and make recommendations on how accounting practices and investment practices could be improved.  
  • Hired an outside financial manager, BMO Harris, to make investment decisions in accordance with Board Policy 10-55 and the Illinois Public Funds Investment Act. The Board and public now receive monthly reports detailing each investment, its category, and the percent of COD funds in each category to ensure that College investments comply with Board policy and Illinois law.  
  • The Budget Committee has made the budget a better reflection of what actual spending will be given the needs of the College.
  • Revised the Board policy on budget transfers.  In addition, all budget transfers, for the fiscal year, are reported to the Board and the public, showing amount, fund, account, and the reason for the transfer.       
  • Ended the practice of imprest accounting. All payments made by the College are reported to the Board and the public on a monthly basis.  

Other documents to view include Key Audit Highlights, a Timeline of events, an Intergovernmental agreement between COD and the Auditor General’s Office, COD Board Item 6.A.11 authorizing the audit, Illinois House Resolution 55, and the College’s audit response.

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