September is the fifth month of our current fiscal year, but the village council has not received a single finance report for the current fiscal year. According to the village administrator we may not receive a report until the middle of September. Chapter 5 Section 1-5A-3 paragraph 4 of the Village Code states: “The village administrator shall, each month, cause to be prepared and shall present to the village council a statement showing the exact financial position of the village and give such additional reports and information concerning the fiscal matters of the village as may from time to time be required by the village council.”
The term “shall” indicates that the action is mandatory rather than discretionary. I am writing this letter for three reasons. First, nothing is more central to our role as commissioners than fiscal oversight of the village. Second, we should expect our highest ranking employee to meet his obligations to the village council. Third, commissioners have a duty to inform the taxpayers of significant acts or omissions.
Recently, I met with Tim Gillian to ask when the council will get a finance report. He said he had not directed staff to prepare a report because staff was busy working with the auditors. He also stated that at the close of a fiscal year there is generally a one or two month period where the council does not get the monthly report. Tim is aware of his job requirements. I don’t think that he can hold staff accountable for their performance when he neglects to perform the most important aspect of his job.
I take issue with his excuses.
The audit is an annual activity. We had a finance director retire in May. We could have asked her to consult for the next two months while the auditors finished their work. It is my understanding that she offered to consult.
Secondly, in my experience the council has received monthly reports during the first quarter of a new fiscal year. The May and June reports would, at a minimum, update revenue and expenses allocated to the prior year.
Finally, by the end of July we have always received a report reflecting current year activity. I think that complacency has set in because Administrator Tim Gillian does not face scrutiny from the mayor and some commissioners.
At a July council meeting the mayor referenced a three page memo from Gillian complaining about Commissioner Chris Harris. The mayor’s position was that Harris was preventing Gillian from doing his job. Gillian took the time to write the mayor a confidential three page memo, but has failed to present a finance report to the council. I hope that my colleagues will take an interest in the administrator’s performance. So far the mayor has not brought this to the council’s attention.