Monday, November 1, 2010

Former Chicago Area Official Arrested in Contracting Scandal

A high ranking Chicago area official was arrested last month on October 4, 2010 and charged with three felonies in a wide-ranging contracting scandal.

Carla Oglesby, former deputy chief of staff to Cook County (Illinois) Board President Todd Stroger, resigned her position while in jail and is now out on bail after posting a bond.

Awaiting Trial:  Oglesby is now awaiting trial and is accused of theft of government property, money laundering, and official misconduct:
  • Ten days after Oglesby was hired, she signed off on a $24,975 non-competitive consultant contract to a company she owns, and continued to work for on the weekends.  Contracts over $25,000 require the approval of the Cook County Board.  After the contract was awarded, Oglesby then used her influence to expedite payment to her company, before any work had been completed.  "It is unclear at best as to whether any work was performed by CGC Communications," an October 7, 2010 Board of Ethics report noted. Oglesby was suspended in May 2010 after the information became public, but her boss, County Board President Todd Stroger brought her back on the payroll after just a five day suspension, an action that outraged other Board members.
  • Oglesby is also accused of directing more than $300,000 of additional contracts to herself and others, each one below the $25,000 selection threshold requiring approval by the Cook County Board.
More Information:
Practical Tips:
  1. Develop a careful delegation of authority system with respect to contract decisions.  
  2. Provide for separation of duties relating to contracting and payment issues.  No one individual should be permitted to make a contract selection, sign the contract, authorize setting up a vendor in the financial system, approve invoices, and authorize checks to be written, and deliver checks.
  3. Ensure your agency has internal control mechanisms and checks and balances to prevent fraud and abuse.
  4. Have a regular internal audit function in place to ensure that abuses do not occur.
  5. Make sure your agency has an ethics policy.
  6. Provide regular ethics training for your employees.
    Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog (© 2010 by Michael E. Purdy Associates)

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