Letter requests oversight of housing authority’s business travel

Published

DeKalb resident Derek Van Buer sent me a copy of a letter he is sharing with members of the DeKalb County Board and officials of the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) regarding the Housing Authority of the County of DeKalb (HACD) and work-related travel restrictions.

DeKalb County Board is the appointive body for the housing authority. Much of HACD’s funding comes from HUD, a federal source.

I will place the letter at the end of this post, along with other relevant materials. There are several concerns described. But to summarize the main point, Mr. Van Buer alleges the housing authority is not following key requirements of an Illinois statute called The Local Government Travel Expense Control Act. Specifically:

  • HACD doesn’t utilize a form for documenting travel expenses.
  • HACD doesn’t vote to approve travel of board members.

I’ve seen emails and other travel-related communications from HACD in response to Freedom of Information Act requests and have the same concerns — and more. For example, sending a quorum (three or more board members) to the same conference seems wasteful of public resources and carries the risk of violating the Open Meetings Act. Also, a couple of HACD board members have built vacations around attendance at conferences, which under IRS rules might disqualify them from some reimbursements.

In view of HACD’s track record as recorded here over the past six months, review by higher authorities of trips and adherence to travel policies does not seem out of line to me.

The letter:

20211220-email-re-50-ilcs-150-HACD-travel

Below: county board resolution that adopted the statute (and the standardized travel form is the last page).

county-travel-policy-res-form