Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney, in partnership with the Winnebago County Board, released a comprehensive 60-day review Tuesday, citing what they believe to be major shortcomings in many of the county's key policies and operations.
The six-page document lists a total of 36 bullet points focusing on everything from a projected multi-million dollar deficit in the fiscal year 2018 budget to accusations that sexual harassment complaints were ignored by a previous elected official.
The report also touches on instances of bullying, illegal campaigning and cites an example of a mandatory, pre-employment drug test being delayed by an elected official. It goes onto raise concerns over the county's nepotism policy, something that has already been a focus of the new administration.
"I am very confident saying that when you look at things related to nepotism, sexual harassment, bullying, there is more than one instance," Haney said Tuesday morning. He continued, "There were multiple instances where we just wanted to look at how we create an environment where there is focus on fairness and excellence."
Allegations of corruption were also evident in the report. The document argues that there is currently "no host fee disclosure policy or meaningful administrative oversight process." The report cites an example of $80,000 in host fees allocated to an organization in which former Board Chairman Scott Christiansen is currently a board member.
When asked about the report Tuesday morning, Christiansen said questions or concerns could have been remedied by better communication from Haney.
"I hadn't heard a word and we'd been, myself and people that were with me, have been nothing but helpful to Chairman Haney and his whole administration," Christiansen said. "But now this came out of nowhere and I don't understand why a simple, simple things that a simple phone call could have answered this stuff. As far as that pay to play business, that's just ridiculous. It's absurd."
Haney says this is not the time to look back at the past administration's doings. Instead, he says he's focusing on policy with the new administration that he says will spur smart spending and a healthier work environment in the county.
"Some of the issues we found in the past were perhaps barriers to that. We can attack that on a policy level, this is not personal," he says. "We have a great administrative team, a committed board and other elected officials who are committed to moving forward."