A screenshot of a recent budget amendment report for Maywood
Tuesday, March 1, 2016 || By Michael Romain || Updated: 3:54 PM
Some members of the Maywood Board of Trustees were still in a mild state of shock at a Feb. 24 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, where Maywood Finance Director Lanya Satchell revealed a set of FY 2016 budget amendments that included a doubling in the amount of money budgeted for the mayor and trustees office and, perhaps most shocking of all, a $1 million discrepancy between the FY 2015 and FY 2016 budgets.
“The reason for this amendment is because the revenues hadn’t come in as predicted and we had to decrease those by a little over a million dollars,” Satchell explained. “A budget has to be balanced. If we reduce our revenue, we also then have to reduce our expenses by the same amount.”
“How did [$1 million] get left out of the budget?” asked Trustee Isiah Brandon, focusing in on the discrepancy.
“I don’t recall,” Satchell said, before noting that the total — $1,003,229.82 that was supposed to be budgeted in central services to pay for village employees’ health insurance — was not in any line items.
“This is a lot of money,” said Brandon, who noted later that he was ‘appalled’ when he learned of the missing expenditure. “This should not happen again. That is a whole lot of money to miss. I don’t know who was responsible for it, but this was a huge thing to overlook.”
“If you missed $5, I can understand that, but to miss that amount of money because somebody failed to put it in there?” said Mayor Edwenna Perkins. “How could you miss that amount when you put the budget together?”
“Each department [head] is responsible for their department and they have to submit what they anticipate spending for the upcoming year,” said Trustee Antoinette Dorris. “In my opinion, the person responsible [was taken care of] about 30 days ago. We don’t have that problem, anymore.”
In late January, Wilhelmina Dunbar, the village’s HR coordinator, was terminated by Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr., for undisclosed reasons. Dorris didn’t specify whether this is the person she was referencing. Norfleet wasn’t available for comment.
Other trustees were outraged that the president’s and board of trustees’ line item, which had originally been budgeted for $15,000 last fiscal year, was increased to $38,800 for FY 2016.
Satchell said the roughly 89 percent increase in funds spent over those that were budgeted were largely due to contractual and professional services in the mayor’s office, by which she meant the contracted temporary workers hired intermittently to fill in for the mayor’s executive secretary when she was either sick or overwhelmed with work.
Perkins requested that Satchell send her a printout detailing the over-budgeted expenses, before pointing out that she had cause for skepticism about Satchell’s figures. The mayor, who along with several trustees said she wasn’t aware of the over-budgeted expenses, claimed that the finance director has incorrectly credited her account for “stuff that wasn’t used” in the past.
Rogers suggested that staff should feel empowered to deny the mayor and trustees any expenditures not already budgeted until those added expenditures are approved by the board.
“We need to lead by example [and] stay within our budget,” said Rogers, who also noted that he hadn’t known about the extra expenditures until recently and that he is against the 2016 increase. “We should not be going beyond that and if, for some reason, we do … it should [be approved by the full board]. I would ask the village staff not to process anything that goes over budget without coming back to [the board for us] to make a decision.”
“This board was never made aware of the contractual services utilized in the mayor’s office,” said Dorris, who was employed as former Mayor Henderson Yarbrough’s executive assistant before her election as a trustee. “When I was working in-house, the mayor’s office didn’t hire a contractor to sit in that office to answer phones and hold the door. They’d call the HR department.”
“I have no problem with what Rogers is saying,” said Perkins, before doubling down on her previous assertion about Satchell.
“You put stuff on my line item that should not have been placed on my line item,” she told the finance director, who told the mayor, “Anything you present to the finance department to pay on your behalf is charged on your line item.”
“Not, it wasn’t,” Perkins said. “I went back [to Norfleet] and he concurred with what I found.”
Overall, the FY 2016 budget amendment showed an overall decrease in revenue of $1,064,012, with the majority of that deduction coming from the village’s corporate fund, which is used to pay for the village’s day-to-day operations.
“A decrease of $730,200 is proposed to more adequately reflect projected revenues for the remainder of the [FY 2016],” according to a summary of the budget amendments. “The decrease is largely related to unrecognized shared revenue from the state to include ComEd Tax, Ni Gas Tax, and Telecommunication Tax, in the amounts of $100K, $350K, and $100K respectively. Other notable decrease in budgeted revenue are in Building Permits, Parking Fines and Police Towing each reduced by $50K [sic].” VFP
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