For years Jean Kaczmarek had been warning elected officials about everything that was wrong with the DuPage Election Commission and for years Jean was ignored. Jean Kaczmarek should be acknowledged for all her hard work and efforts! Thank you Jean!
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The Mayors and Managers Legislative Plan would like to limit the Prevailing Wage Act. What that means is they don't want to have to pay plumbers, electricians, carpenters or others a living wage because there is no money in the budget but they are giving top administrators big salary increases and bonuses. Pay attention people.
Related Topics: Dave Fieldman, Watermain, and bonds
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Endorsement - Hinsdale Doings - 2006 Campaign
"The race for the DuPage County Board's District 2 seat presents a difficult choice for voters.... But only one person can be elected come November, and therefore we endorse Chaplin. She adds a refreshingly different kind of voice to the mix. Her efforts in uncovering a water quality issue in her neighborhood show initiative and determination that could translate well into a role as a responsive elected official.
Chaplin, who has gained experience in government serving on the DuPage Water Commission, wants to develop and maintain affordable housing in the area, as well as attract and keep businesses. We agree with these measures. We particularly support her plan to reduce the County Board from 18 to 12 members and to eliminate benefits and reduce salaries [for] the part-time positions.
We think that with two Republican attorneys currently holding the other seats in district 2, residents could be well-served by having a representative with new ideas. Chaplin a stay at home mom, would be effective in providing a public voice for the DuPage County everyman."
It’s no secret Illinois is in financial trouble, and it’s no wonder either! Many of our government units proceed unchecked and unaccountable, resisting reform and guarding their turf. Our best local example is the DuPage Water Commission.
In early 2007 it was in the enviable position of having excess reserves. At that time, DuPage United very publicly encouraged the Commission to (1) earmark part of those reserves to make the remaining bond payments, (2) ease water rates back to a sustainable level, and (3) give up the quarter cent sales tax collected on our purchases in DuPage County. This tax generated over $30 million a year and had created a big piggy bank at a time it could have done more good in the pockets of taxpayers or funding pressing needs of the community.
Yet when DuPage United asked the Water Commissioners to take these three steps, their response was to guard what they saw as their money. First they diverted $40 million to member towns with no strings attached. Legal? Probably only in Illinois! Then they lowered the water rate paid by the towns, even though the rate was already below cost. These actions were taken to justify keeping their sales tax.
While they were scrambling to spend down reserves, they lost track of finances. Raiding the piggy bank, selling water at a loss, funding new construction projects and not keeping track of their bank balances inadvertently used up all of the reserves and then some…in just over two years! By last fall the Commission needed to borrow $70 million.
During the years of fiscal mismanagement, there was a consistent voice calling for restraint. Commissioner Liz Chaplin, whose appointment ended last June, was ignored and even ridiculed by other Commissioners, but outside investigators brought in to find out where all the money went lauded her efforts. Tonight we want to thank Liz Chaplin for 8 years of dedicated service as a Water Commissioner --
Our ongoing analysis of the Commission led us to support Senate Bill 580 last spring—a bill intended to fold the Water Commission into county government, something recommended by the Civic Federation in 2006. Some mayors spent a lot of taxpayer money fighting that bill, and in the end, the only real changes that passed call for the current Commissioners to resign at the end of this year and for the sales tax to sunset in 2016. Commissioners can, of course, be reappointed, and some are already looking for ways to keep the sales tax.
Monday, April 9, 2012
BY ANDREW SCHROEDTER April 8, 2012 11:26PM
Commissioner Peter N. Silvestri. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times
Updated: April 9, 2012 9:56AM
Should a suburban mayor be allowed to have a second job as a county board member?
That’s a question at the center of a political debate in DuPage County where Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni and Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso say they plan to continue running their respective communities if elected to the DuPage County Board in the general election in November.
And it’s a question now being raised in Cook County, because Peter Silvestri and Jeffrey Tobolski are county commissioners who also serve as elected leaders in their municipalities.
Silvestri has served as Elmwood Park’s village president and a Cook County commissioner for nearly two decades. During that span, he says no one has challenged the legality of his holding dual offices.
But observers say if DiCianni and Grasso win in November and are pressured to step down as mayors — a possibility ever since DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin crafted a legal opinion that found such dual roles are “incompatible” — it could make it easier for someone to come after Silvestri or Tobolski, the mayor of McCook since 2007 and a Cook County commissioner since 2010.
“I think [they] would have reason to be nervous,” says Jack Siegel, a veteran municipal attorney not involved in the matter.
Silvestri says he’s not concerned but acknowledges he heard about the debate in DuPage and brought it up to state Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park.).
That led Harmon to introduce a bill on Feb. 7 that would make it legal across the state to serve as a mayor and county commissioner, even if the agencies have basic contractual agreements such as those involving 911 dispatching or sewer services. Under the state’s Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act, a county commissioner isn’t supposed to serve on a community’s governing board if the county government and the community have a contractual relationship.
Cook County has had no contractual relationship with Elmwood Park or McCook over the past five years, a county spokeswoman says. In recent years, DuPage County has had at least seven legal agreements with Elmhurst and Burr Ridge, including intergovernmental agreements that address road and storm water management projects, records show.
Harmon’s bill has been making its way through the Senate, but Harmon now says he’s backing off because he doesn’t want to affect a political race.
This story was written and reported by BGA investigator Andrew Schroedter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 821-9035.