Statement by Commissioner Suffredin on Special Board Meeting of April 23, 2009
Today the Cook County Board held a Special Meeting to assure the citizens of Cook County that reasonable and prudent steps have been taken to protect the finances of Cook County in light of the sudden resignation of the Chief Financial Officer.
The meeting was necessitated by the lack of explanation from President Stroger about the circumstances of the requested resignation of the CFO and the procedures he was taking to protect the publicís money.
The meeting heard from four financial professionals who outlined the steps they were taking to show the public that there was no danger to the publicís funds.
The four were:
- Mr. Fratto stated he will be for a short-term basis the full-time CFO. Deputy Chief of Staff Pam Munizzi will handle his other duties. He then outlined a series of internal auditing procedures that that he has begun to investigate the integrity of the current financial situation. He believes his actions will protect the Countyís funds and those funds generated by Federal Grants. He will be reporting to the Board on details of his work at each future County Board meeting.
- Mr. Morales has reviewed all expenditures personally generated by the former CFO and pending the completed audit he does not see any irregularities at this time. He reviewed the procedures in place by his office to limit the possibility of any irregularities. He pledged to support all audits internal and external and to release information in a timely manner.
- Mr. Morris stated that the former CFO has been the team leader on the Bonds the County has been working on issuing in May 2009 for $251 million. He believes Mr. Fratto will be able to substitute as the leader of the team. Mr. Morris and Mr. Fratto will deal with the rating agencies in an attempt to get a favorable interest rate for the County. Any downgrade in the rating of these bonds by the rating agencies could cost the taxpayers up to $10 million in additional interest.
- Mr. Hagen said that the external 2008 audit will continue as planned and that preliminary results should be available shortly. He stated that his team will perform additional reviews to insure the integrity of the Countyís financial system in light of the CFOís departure. He also said that his team will make suggestions to the County Auditor on procedures to be used on an internal review of all matters pertaining to the CFO.
At the end of the meeting these four witnesses had vouched for the current integrity of the financial system of the County. All stated that they will report immediately any changes in their view to the County Board. At this time they have taken on the responsibility to protect the publicís treasury.
Click here for the meeting agenda.
Click here to read my letter to President Stroger concerning witnesses at the Special Meeting.