Wednesday, August 26, 2015

DuPage County Keeps Lobbyists for Another Year

The Daily Herald reports the following:

DuPage Keeping Lobbyists for Another Year

Robert Sanchez
August 25, 2105

DuPage County officials defended the county's use of lobbyists before awarding nearly $300,000 in contracts to several firms.
"As the second-largest county in Illinois with nearly 1 million residents, it is critically important that the county maintain an effective presence in both Washington, D.C. and Springfield," county board Chairman Dan Cronin said.

On Tuesday, county board members voted 15-1 to spend $260,000 to keep three lobbying firms for another year.

Two of the firms -- All-Circo Inc. and V.A. Persico Consulting Inc. -- are pushing the county's legislative agenda in Springfield. The third firm, BGR Government Affairs LLC, lobbies on the federal level.

DuPage also will contribute $24,000 to help pay McGuire Woods Consulting, which represents the county board and the DuPage County Health Department at the state level.

That expenditure didn't require a county board vote because it's less than $25,000, officials said.

Board member Elizabeth Chaplin cast the only vote against the contracts for the lobbying firms.

"I don't see the value," she said. "I think as county board members we can take a more active working with our own representatives and save the taxpayers money."

You can read the Full Daily Herald story 

DuPage County has a presence in Springfield and Washington, they are called elected officials. It is the job of the elected officials to represent the needs of the people in their district.  It is the job the of elected officials to advocate on behalf of the residents and ensure they deliver state and federal funding for capital projects,  social services, the health department, public safety, ect. 

In Kane County the Legislative Committee acts as their own lobbyists. Kane County is spending zero dollars on lobbyists.  Will County spends $40,000 on their lobbyists.  

Lobbyists by the numbers:

V.A. Persico                   $60,000

All-Circo                        $120,000

McGuire Woods              $24,000

BGR Government Affairs  $80,000 

Total                               $284,000.00

DuPage County Representatives by the numbers:

13 Illinois House Members

9   Illinois Senate Members

8 Federal Representatives

18 County Board Members

1  County Chairman

Total :  49

You can learn more about Kane County Lobbying  efforts here.

You can learn more about Will County Lobbyists here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

DuPage Convalescent Center

Based on my own research and conclusions I did not support the $99,500 contract to CGR for the assessment of the DuPage Convalescent Center.  

The Daily Reports the following:

DuPage hopes to improve, not sell, convalescent center

Robert Sanchez

With the uncertainty of funding from the state and federal governments, DuPage officials say they want to identify operational and revenue changes that "support a financially sustainable model that can continue to meet the needs of an underserved population."

So the county board agreed to hire the Center for Governmental Research to perform an in-depth assessment of the convalescent center.

Since counties aren't required to operate a convalescent center, there have been politicians through the years who have proposed the DuPage center be sold or turned over to a private management company.

County board member Liz Chaplin said she's worried that could happen again because there have been instances when the Center for Governmental Research recommended other counties sell their nursing homes.

Full article can be found here.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Conflict of Interest DuPage County Style

Citing conflict of interest during the March 24, 2015 meeting of the DuPage County Board I was the only member to vote NO on the appointment of Nancy Wolfe as the Inspector General.
How can anyone remain impartial when making possible judgements against those that treated her so well and allowed for such a generous benefit package?
The Chicago Tribune reports the following:

Pension boost tactic sidesteps laws to cost taxpayers millions

Joe Mahr, Chicago Tribune
5:31 am, August 15, 2015

Conflicts of interests?

What happened in DuPage County also highlights how those with major financial stakes in the tactic can be close to the discussion over its survival.
Records show that Thomas Downing in 2010 oversaw the state's attorney's office division responsible for crafting board opinions. The board member who pushed the 2010 proposal, John Curran, said Downing at times was assigned to help the committee that debated the ordinance.
Downing retired in 2013. The perk boosted his starting pension from about $69,000 a year to $82,000. Downing declined comment.
Nancy Wolfe oversaw Downing as the first assistant in the office. She retired earlier this year, with the timing of end-of-career payouts boosting her pension by 18 percent. Wolfe said she played no direct role in the opinion and, regardless, would never slant an opinion to benefit her personally. The current state's attorney, Robert Berlin, and former state's attorney, Joe Birkett, said Wolfe and Downing did nothing improper.
Birkett, now an appellate court judge, reviewed and signed the opinion, and he defended his office's handling of the measure. But he said he understands how it could raise questions of a potential conflict of interest. He said he would have sought an outside legal review if the county board had asked.
"I think that's a valid point. Anybody could have raised it at the time. Nobody did," he said.
Curran, the board member who pushed the reform proposal, said he felt it would have been useless because, if someone sues, the state's attorney's office decides how to handle the lawsuit.
The full article can be found here.
The Video from the March 24th DuPage County Board meeting can be here Video.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Morton Arboretum

Recently the DuPage County Board Members from District 2 and District 4 visited The Morton Arboretum.  President and CEO, Gerry Donnelly, and Bob Schillerstrom a member of the Board of  Trustees welcomed us and lead the interesting and informative discussion.   

The Morton Arboretum was established in 1922 by the Morton Family.  The Arboretum has 1700 acres of plants, gardens, woodlands, prairie, lakes and streams.  With 4,200 kind of trees from around the world, 16 miles of trails and 9 miles of paved roads, it makes a great place to escape from the stress of everyday life. There is a 4 acre Children's Garden and is the most visited arboretum in North America.

World renowned for scientific leadership with a team of 25 PhD researchers and staff scientists, the Arboretum is also home to a state-of-the-art Research Center.

One of the leading Arboretums of the world in size, age, plant collection, science and conservation.  DuPage County is very fortunate to be home to such a unique and remarkable place.

Below you will find a video that gives a brief overview of The Morton Arboretum:

You can learn more about the Arboretum here.

You can learn more about the District 2 members here and District 4 members here.

Monday, June 15, 2015

DuPage County Stormwater Management Monitoring Precipitation Monday Afternoon

Du Page County 
421 N. County Farm Road Wheaton, Illinois 60187 630-407-6060 s Twitter:  @dupagecounty s Facebook:  DuPage County Board
For Immediate Release                                                                                                    
June 15, 2015                                                                                                               
DuPage County Stormwater Management Monitoring Precipitation Monday Afternoon
Wheaton, IL – DuPage County Stormwater Management is notifying local agencies of forecasted precipitation throughout the area Monday afternoon through the evening. Parts of DuPage County have received more than 2 inches of rainfall beginning late Sunday evening. The National Weather Service’s forecasts indicate an additional three-fourths of an inch of rain will fall in the area through Monday evening.
Stream elevations on the West Branch DuPage River are within one foot of the trigger operation for Fawell Dam (Naperville). Combined with existing rainfall, forecasts indicate an operation of Fawell Dam early Monday evening. On Salt Creek, the Elmhurst Quarry Flood Control Facility and Spring Creek Reservoir (Bloomingdale) are also within one foot of operation. If rainfall is heavier or more intense than forecasted, these facilities may go into operation. Also on Salt Creek, the Wood Dale-Itasca Reservoir (Wood Dale) is three feet from operation, but is not anticipated to go into operation during this event. DuPage County’s 12 gravity operated facilities are operating as needed. County staff is also monitoring precipitation and inflow from the upper reaches of each of the watersheds, which may contribute to increased stream elevations aside from the forecasted rainfall in the area.
DuPage County Stormwater Management staff will monitor stream elevations throughout the event and will provide updates as they become available. Be advised that the area is under a flash flood watch through late Monday.
Local agencies and residents may visit for more information about flood control facilities throughout the County, as well as to view rain and stream gages, forecasts and real-time pictures.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Villa Park Citizen Fire Academy 2015

The Villa Park Fire Department holds a Citizens Fire Academy once a year.  The Academy runs for nine weeks with a well prepared agenda. During the nine weeks students are doing all things related to firefighting. Working with the men and women of the fire department, they cover many interesting topics including Department History, Fire Science, Engine Operations, Emergency Medical Services, CPR /AED Certification, Hands on and Practical Training, Special Operations and Vehicle Rescue. 

The Academy offers hands on experience.  Becoming CPR/AED certified,  going into a building that is on fire and taking a part a vehicle, allows for a better  understanding of the variety of skills needed to be a firefighter. 

The Citizens Fire Academy Program is a great way to become better informed about firefighters and what they do and to build a relationship with our public safety officials.

Below is a  video from the Villa Park Citizen Fire Academy 2015.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tools for Schools

Tools for Schools (TFS) provides a place where individuals and businesses can donate school supplies or office supplies. Schools and non-profit organizations supporting children choose needed items. Children get school supplies, teachers get equipment for their classrooms, and it is all diverted from the landfill. There is a wide range of supplies collected and re-distributed at SCARCE. Microscopes and overhead projectors are always popular items that are snapped up quickly. Usually there is a constant flow of notebooks, paper, pencils, and many types of office supplies.  The inventory changes daily.

   You can learn more about the 
                   program here.