Benford hopes Mayer's departure heralds new era for DuPage Township
DuPage Township Trustee Alyssia Benford hopes the resignation of Township Supervisor William Mayer will usher in a new system of governance for the town.
“Simply put, the current law gives a township supervisor too much sole control,” Benford told the Will County Gazette. “There should also be required training for township supervisors that have control of general assistance funds.”
Mayer made his resignation official during a Jan. 15 regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting where allegations of improprieties lodged against him continued to swell. Among the transgressions he is accused of is approving personal loans and advance payments to himself without the knowledge of board members.
Edgar County Watchdogs reports he is also suspected of having funneled DuPage Township business to companies he and his wife are known to be affiliated with.
Benford, who has served on the board for seven years, said her antennae first went up when she discovered an unauthorized check written in March of last year for $480 and was unable to get a proper accounting for it.
“The supervisor’s reactions and responses to the matter made me concerned that there was more going on,” she told Will County Gazette. “I began to look closer at some general assistance spending as well as some other matters and determined during some fact checking that some things that had been told to the board in the past were not true.”
Benford said her subsequent actions, which included calling for a forensic audit, were met with much resistance by Mayer and his supporters.
“I was not pleased with the services or the report we received because there appeared to be information intentionally left out of the forensic audit report,” she said. “I was surprised that the supervisor resigned last night.”
Benford said the pushback against her has included personal attacks and even an assault on clients of her CPA firm.
“I don’t think they are finished with their attacks but I know I have not done anything illegal, so I will continue to persevere,” she said.
Going forward, Benford said, the system needs to change for the benefit of the people.
“If townships will remain in existence, we have to consider adding internal controls to the law to have proper checks and balances,” she said. “There should also be required training for township supervisors that have control of general assistance funds.”