Performance review: Remote Treasurer employees pose problems

From Illinois News Network

In his first 100 days Illinois’ new Treasurer says there are some clear things his office will focus on moving forward. One issue independent performance reviewer Plante Moran found was the closing of some satellite offices may have had a negative impact. Treasurer Mike Frerichs says the original intent may have been to save money by closing offices and having employees work remotely, but other issues became evident.

“Because we’re spending an awful lot on mileage reimbursement but also when you don’t have someone supervising, you don’t have the ability to supervise in some cases, poor internet in parts of Southern Illinois, it makes working effectively and managing effectively, difficult.”

The analysis also highlighted a “clout-heavy” internship program without formal written policies, a college savings program in need of a complete overhaul, inadequate inventory controls for the office’s unclaimed property division, among others. Plante Moran’s analysis didn’t cost the state anything. Frerichs says there are several reasons, including the company being a good corporate citizen and the ability to get more exposure among other government agencies.

Treasurer: Focus on Secure Choice

One of the big programs Illinois’ Treasurer is preparing for will enroll every employee in the state into a savings plan, if they don’t already have one. Secure Choice, a program that passed the General Assembly last year and was signed by former Governor Pat Quinn before he left office, mandates that every employee in the state of Illinois enroll in a savings plan to have at least three percent of their pay held in a savings account managed by a board of seven members including the state Treasurer. The employee can opt out of the program, but every employer that has more than 25 employees must participate if they don’t already offer a savings program. Treasurer Mike Frerichs says the program is a tall order for his office that he hopes to get fully functional with limited hangups.

“It is going to be a big job to stand this up. It’s going to affect millions of people and it’s going to be very important and we want to make sure that when we have this up and and go live we don’t have some of the problems that have happened perhaps with other government programs on day one.”

The first-in-the-nation program found critics among small business groups who said the employer mandate will be another hoop companies big and small will have to jump through in order to do business in Illinois. Employers do not have to match any money employees put into the fund. The program will not be active until 2017.

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