How the County Auditor Works for You
Auditor Bill White sees the mission of the County Auditor as being an independent advocate for government that is effective, efficient and transparent.
Elected County Auditors have the independence to look objectively at County operations and finances to safeguard County resources and revenues. Also, elected County Auditors continuously look for ways to improve the operation of an organization. Because the County Auditor is elected by the voters and does not report to any other elected official or board, this Office has the independence and objectivity to focus on adding value to the organization.
When evaluating effectiveness, a County Auditor will ask question such as these:
- What is a department supposed to accomplish?
- What is a department actually accomplishing?
- Can the department's methods of operation be improved?
- Are there procedures in place to assure that a department will continue to operate effectively over time?
When evaluating efficiency, the highest priority is to evaluate whether internal controls adequately protect County resources and revenues from fraud, and from the wasteful use of resources and revenues, and from the abuse or misuse of resources and revenues. Often these concepts are shortened to "waste, fraud and abuse" however Auditor Bill White believes that phrase has become a cliche' and it is useful to unpack that phrase and more carefully explain what each term means.
Fraud is wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. Fraud involves dishonesty and betrays the goals and purposes of government and denies our community the use of the resources and revenues entrusted to us by the taxpayers. Preventing fraud is a necessary part of having an efficient government.
Waste is the thoughtless or careless expenditure or mismanagement of resources and revenues. Typically, waste does not result in personal gain. Preventing or reducing waste increases efficiency and allows our government to in increase the value of programs and services provided to the community,
The abuse or misuse is the excessive or improper use of resources and revenues. For example, the use of a County vehicle to run personal errands would be an example of the abuse or misuse of resources. While there is an element of personal gain, the abuse of resources may not involve willful deception.
The first line of defense against waste, fraud and abuse is to maintain an effective system of internal controls. One core duty of the County Auditor is to continuously evaluate whether sufficient policies and procedures are in place to prevent waste, fraud and abuse from happening in the first place. There is strong consensus among audit professionals that preventive controls are the most cost-effective line of defense against waste, fraud and abuse.
Detective controls are a second line of defense. Prompt detection of waste, fraud and abuse allows corrective action to first stop the wrongful conduct and then improve the system of internal controls to prevent future occurrences. Internal auditors are continuously on the lookout for telltale signs of waste, fraud and abuse (known as "red flags") and when red flags are spotted, increased scrutiny is applied to determine whether there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
There is strong consensus among audit professionals that "tiplines" are among the most cost-effective if preventative controls. Therefore, if you suspect fraud, waste or abuse within DuPage County government, contact the Audit Tipline - 630-75-AUDIT (630-752-8348) or AuditHotline@dupageco.org