‘Adverse’ audit of Illinois Department of Natural Resources shows repeated findings



(The Center Square) – An audit with an “adverse opinion” of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources shows over 37 findings, including a lack of care for artifacts and problems with its service providers.

The recently released report from the Illinois Auditor General of IDNR looks at the agency’s operations over the past two years ending June 30, 2022. In total, the agency had 28 repeat findings.

“Because of the significance and pervasiveness of the findings described within the report, we expressed an adverse opinion on the Department of Natural Resources’ … compliance with the specified requirements which comprise a State compliance examination,” the audit said.

IDNR maintains state parks and museums, hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation resources.

The audit shows that the department did not have adequate control over its historical artifacts and failed to maintain a central inventory. In some cases, the artifacts could not be located or found in a location different from the location indicated in the listing.

State Rep. Wayne Rosenthal, R-Morrisonville, was director of the agency under former Gov. Bruce Rauner. Rosenthal said many of the issues stem from a lack of workers.

“The bottom line to me is, it’s the same issues that we have seen before,” Rosenthal told The Center Square. “It is just a lack of people they have who can adequately do the job.”

Rosenthal said they could not hire anyone new while he was in charge of the agency, which continues to this day and results in a lack of proper care or attention to their duties.

“The issues that are there are pretty much the same,” Rosenthal said. “It is a lack of attention to detail, which can be fixed, but it probably goes along with not having enough numbers there.”

The report shows that IDNR had 21% of its required reports which consist of annual forecasts of operating revenues and expenses, and the capital expenditures budget could not be located.

The Illinois Auditor General is doing its job by identifying issues within the agency that need to be addressed, Rosenthal said.

“Part of the audit process is identifying oversight, and that’s what they’re doing,” Rosenthal said. “The big thing to take away when looking at it is that there was nothing fraudulent going on that’s major.”

After getting the “adverse opinion” from the auditor, the department agreed with the findings and said they are working to fix the issues.

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