County Looking for More Transparency in Public Defender Office

Published 04/22 2014 10:47PM

Updated 04/22 2014 10:51PM

PEORIA - After questions about fund management by the Peoria county public defender's office, the county and the tenth judicial circuit are working towards better transparency.



A county board committee voted this afternoon to rework funding so it can look into internal operations within the public defender's office.


They plan to hire an external auditor who will look to find ways the county and court administration can better communicate with the public defender's office.


The county's review of procedures found outgoing Public Defender Thomas Penn, Jr. allegedly used a portion of grant money to pay his wife tens of thousands of dollars between 2005 and 2009.



“Process is important,” says Peoria County Board Member Andrew Rand. “Internal controls are important.  Inspecting those internal controls are important, and I think the auditing of this matter a lot.”



Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady is also looking in to the matter

This will now go to the county board for a vote.


The committee also voted to approve funding for interim public defender Jeffrey Flanagan while they look for a permanent replacement.

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