Heated debate continues over Williamson County auditor - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Heated debate continues over Williamson County auditor

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MARION (WSIL) -- One Williamson County board member demands an apology from another after accusations were made about the board doing something illegal.

The issue revolves around the accounting firm that handles the county's audits and also provides consulting work on the budget.

Williamson County Commissioner Ron Ellis accuses the firm, Hudgens and Meyer LLC, of being behind on their audits, putting their ability to get grants at risk.

"You don't continue to do the same thing over and over and over when you find that there's a problem," Ellis said. "And that's exactly what we've done."

He also said they failed to uncover theft in the circuit clerk's office several years ago.

"I don't think any firm can audit what they can't find. I think they'd all hit the same wall," Williamson County Commissioner Jim Marlo said, defending the company.

In June, Ellis commented that having the same firm handle the county's audits and consultant on the budget is an illegal conflict of interest. The county also did not seek bids on the services, which Ellis said is also illegal.

MORE: Williamson County commissioner pushes for new auditor

The county is actively seeking an opinion from the Illinois Attorney General's office, but State's Attorney Brandon Zanotti says there isn't anything criminal happening, in his opinion.

"Anybody can shout something out to the media, but the truth is the truth," Marlo said. "There is a right and there is a wrong, and a statement was made that bothered me, and we are by no means doing anything illegal."

Ellis said even if the Attorney General decides nothing illegal happened, he won't apologize.

"Absolutely not. I will never apologize for putting the taxpayers of Williamson County first," Ellis said.

But he said he will drop the issue if the Attorney General rules against him, and everyone on the board agrees they should move forward if that's the case.

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