Champaign County receives only passing grade in eastern Illinois Institute audit

In a recent government transparency audit of 22 eastern Illinois counties by the Illinois Policy Institute, Champaign County was the only county to pass, scoring 68.1 out of 100 possible points in its compliance with state open records laws.

The audit revealed that many counties were not in compliance with the laws set by the Freedom of Information Act. Failing counties were marked down for missing information like meeting notices and salary schedules.

Brian Costlin, director of government reform at the Institute, said taxpayers should be demanding more transparency from their elected officials.

“With Illinois’ history of corruption, no one in this state should be resisting improving transparency efforts,” Costlin said in a press release. “Unfortunately, it’s not just the Institute’s suggestions that these counties are failing to live up to; many are failing to comply with basic state laws.”

The Illinois Policy Institute has performed more than 180 audits as part of its Local Transparency Project, which evaluates counties based on the availability of public meeting schedules, public employee salaries, tax rates, and other community information.

The audit also revealed that only eight of the 22 counties’ web sites passed transparency laws set forth by both the FOIA and the Open Meetings Act.