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Orland Park trustee William Healy has some issues with paying a contracted auditing firm an extra $19,000. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Orland Park trustee William Healy has some issues with paying a contracted auditing firm an extra $19,000. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Orland Park trustee balks at paying audit firm extra $19,000

By Jeff Vorva

After the April 6 election, Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau had a village board made up of six trustees that he had endorsed.

Unanimous passage of items and proclamations were expected to be the norm.

At the June 7 meeting, there was an interesting twist when the board voted 6-1 on an item with Trustee William Healy casting the lone “no” vote.

No, Healy wasn’t going rogue. He wasn’t breaking from the pack. He was in actually in sync with the rest of the board’s thinking on the topic.

After the board had two long discussions and tabled two items from the finance department on internships and salary scales, Pekau and the trustees engaged in a discussion on the third item regarding an audit contract amendment that would have paid Oak Brook’s BKD CPAs and Advisors $19,970 for additional services for the 2020 audit.

According to the proposal, the firm needed to do additional work in reviewing and testing various work papers and schedules.

The firm is in the middle of a five-year contract.

Healy said he has 45 years of experience in this area and has done government audits and ticked off a list of BKD’s requests for additional money that he said should have been covered in the original contract.

“I don’t know why this made it to the board level,” he said. “According to a BKD brochure from 2018, they promised us no surprises. Well, this is a surprise.”

He added that trustees were supposed to be consulted before and during the audit process and that has not happened. Healy also said that the village is being overcharged at least $4,000 with this request after reviewing invoices.

“I assumed this was reviewed and approved before it came to us,” he said. “I don’t feel like it’s up to me to find that. It might be a weakness in our internal control system. It might be something we need to pay attention to.”

Pekau said the auditing firm “either underestimated the scope or pulled a fast one,” and said the village may consider hiring another firm.

The mayor suggested postponing the vote until Monday’s board meeting to allow the finance department and BKD to discuss this further and come to a decision.

Healy, who suggested he may have lost faith in the firm, voted “no.”

“No to table it?” Pekau asked.

“No, I want to vote on it today, but that’s OK,” Healy replied.

After the meeting, Healy said,“I wanted to vote on it now and not just move it on. Let them come back with something new.”

During the meeting, Pekau said that there was turnover with the board and Orland Park staff since BKD signed the contract and there might be some issues and misunderstandings but “there are clearly some mistakes in [the proposal].”

“I felt bad about talking about that accounting firm because they are not here to defend themselves,” Healy said after the meeting. “But it never should have been at the board level.”

BBQ a hot topic

Orland Park officials will be paying close attention to the American Legion’s Summer Salute Barbecue Competition on Aug. 21.

The Legion will host up to 20 amateur barbeque teams at 14290 S. La Grange Road with live music from Strawdawg, Southern Jack and Trainwreck with the event benefitting the Sons of the American Legion 1st Division.

Trustee Michael Milani proposed that the village hosts a barbecue competition at the June 7 Committee of the Whole meeting and after the board discussed it, it decided to see how the American Legion’s event goes before moving forward.

The board left open the door to a future partnership between the village and the American Legion to host it.

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