Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Better Government Association Watchdog Training

Last night the citizens of DuPage County had the rare opportunity to attend watchdog training by the Better Government Association held in DuPage.  The evening started off with an excellent presentation from Andy Shaw.  The energy in the room was amazing.  The speakers used lots of humor and related well to the audience.

The BGA has done many investigations in DuPage County.  Many of the investigations tie into my recent statement of candidacy.

BGA has investigated Double Dipping in DuPage County (October 15, 2011) Several county board members draw public-sector salaries and stand to draw dual pensions.

Protecting a Perk in DuPage (December 19, 2011) DuPage County Board members could have taken a big step towards halting their taxpayer funded pensions, but opted to keep the potentially lucrative benefit.

DuPage Stormwater Director Backed Contracts for Firm Employing his Wife (September 16, 2011)  The stormwater management headed by Anthony Charlton, has recommended Wills Burke Kelsey, which employ's Charlton's wife, as a consultant for stomwater projects totaling $534,209.00.

Law Firms Donates to DuPage Board members, Wins Contract (January 30, 2011) Nine of the 15 DuPage County board members who approved a no-bid contract for an Itasca Law Firm to help redraw the county's electoral map have accepted contributions from the group or its attorneys.

As stated earlier this week I will not accept the taxpayer funded pension or benefits and I will work to reduce the salary for this part time position.

As a DuPage County Board member I will work to eliminate single bid contracts to favored companies.

Being elected to office is a privilege.  When elected to office you are elected to represent the people and to serve them.  It seems that more often than not our elected officials are serving themselves and their friends.

DuPage Forest Preserve Executive Director Exits District with Golden Parachute

Very proud of my fellow Democratic candidates.  Through Freedom of Information Act requests made by Steve Leopoldo and Dennis Clark they uncovered a memo outlining a generous severance package for Executive Director Manning.   The information was not easily obtained. The Forest Preserve refused to abide by the Illinois Attorney General's request to release the documents.  Once the documents were finally released if was just a matter of connecting the dots.  

DuPage Forest Preserve Executive Director Exits District with Golden Parachute

Wheaton, IL – June 25, 2012 – Executive Director Manning’s sudden retirement came as a shock to the DuPage Forest Preserve and its President, Dewey Pierotti, as indicated in statements released by the Forest Preserve shortly after Manning’s retirement was formally announced.
Manning’s abrupt retirement after renewing his contract in late 2011 sparked the interest of Commissioner Candidates Steven Leopoldo (District 3) and Dennis Clark (District 5).  Through Freedom of Information Act requests, they uncovered a memo of understanding between Manning and the District, outlining a generous severance package.
DuPage Forest Preserve President Pierotti signed the memo dated May 17 and it was approved as a non-public document by the Board of Commissioners on June 5. Manning is to receive a severance package of four months’ salary based on his annual salary of $165,000, all of his accrued vacation, sick and holiday benefits, and health and dental benefits through August. 
A request was made by both Clark and Leopoldo to view Manning’s letter of resignation. The official response from the District’s Freedom of Information officer, Linda Klett, was that, “The District has no such records. Mr. Manning did not submit an official letter of resignation.”   The Executive Director’s employment contract requires a 90 days’ written notice in order to be entitled to severance benefits. The May 17 memorandum of understanding terminated Manning’s contract on June 15. 
Reviewing the memorandum, Leopoldo stated, “It is unfair, unnecessary, and an unethical act to force taxpayers to foot the bill for Manning’s retirement package, in particular because it seems as if he was encouraged to resign.”
A curious provision in the memo of understanding also releases Manning and the District from legal repercussions from their actions.  
Manning’s early retirement announcement on May 18coincided with the District informing the public it would not abide by the Illinois Attorney General’s request to release records detailing payments made to Alamach Technologies, Inc. The payment records indicate how nearly a half of a million dollars were authorized by the District in the alleged scheme to defraud taxpayers.
On June 22 the District’s Freedom of Information Officer informed requestors that the Forest Preserve attorney moved to have the DuPage Circuit Court order signed to bar release of the documents. The motion making the request was sealed from public view, an extraordinary legal process to prevent the release of public information.
Speaking about the sealed documents, Clark said, “It is not hard to connect the dots. We won’t rest until the truth is out.” Clark further stated, “If Manning’s performance deserves a generous severance package, then why is a provision included in the memo of understanding that he can never again work for the District?”
Leopoldo and Clark stated that they are continuing to pressure the District to release information on how the Forest Preserve District is spending taxpayer dollars and are seeking further support of the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Creation of Inspector General for DuPage County


DuPage County should consider the creation of an inspector general.  If elected to DuPage County Board I will make this a priority.


Study: Suburban corruption merits creation of inspector general

Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman and head of UIC's Political Science Deptartment, presented the results of a report detailing corruption that has afflicted more than 60 suburbs in Cook and surrounding counties and has ensnared more than 100 public officials and police officers, including 17 mayors and village presidents. He is calling for a suburban inspector general to rein it in.

Saying that suburban municipalities are copying the corruption playbook of Chicago, a former Chicago alderman on Monday proposed creating suburban inspector generals offices to police local officials.
“Many contracts and businesses in the suburbs have bribery and corruption as part of (their) business expenses,” said Dick Simpson, the head of the political science department at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
At a news conference at the Cook County Building in Chicago, Simpson unveiled a report — “Green Grass and Graft: Corruption in the Suburbs” — that he co-authored documenting corruption cases that have ensnared more than 100 suburban public officials and police officers dating to 1974.
“Somebody has to do something,” Simpson said. “This is not a minor problem. This is a major program.”
He suggested the state, the counties or the suburbs themselves could create the inspector generals offices. A local inspector general’s office could cost as much as $500,000 per year.
He said that would be a fraction of the cost of the problem, which he said was $500 million a year statewide and which he referred to as “the corruption tax.”
Simpson said that federal prosecutors are often tied up pursuing Chicago corruption cases and state’s attorneys are too politically compromised to fight crooked politicians.
“The truth is that most of the state’s attorneys have a political base and the political base doesn’t want to prosecute their own officials,” Simpson said.
He also said that office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan “should be doing much more,” to fight suburban political corruption instead of acting as a consumer advocate.
The idea does not lack local validation.
In October 1985, a federal jury convicted Du Page County School Supt. James Smith of obstruction of justice and lying to an FBI agent, after he took a $1,800 kickback from his predecessor, James Wright.
In Feb. 1994, Oakbrook Terrace Zoning Administrator Nicolae Ionescu pleaded guilty to extortion of $10,000 and tax fraud. The following autumn, Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Richard Sarallo admitted to tax evasion, related to bribery and kickbacks involving commercial developer Robert Krilich.
Lisle Park District Director Kim Paetschow resigned in June 2000, after a grand jury probe led to her being charged with theft of labor and services.
In May 2004, Naperville Park District Executive Director Ken Brissa resigned under board pressure after several months of a police probe into questionable spending and bid fixing.
Former Aurora Alderman Jim Meisch received a three year prison sentence after pleading guilty to several federal bribery charges in May 2005.
And just last month, former Warrenville Alderman Christopher Halley was sent to prison on a five-year sentence after he confessed that he took about $6,200 from two Naperville businessmen, promising to supply their new business with poker tables and chips that he never delivered. Halley already was on probation for past financial fraud offenses.
Simpson estimated the local inspector generals could be established within a year with the right support. He said a “champion in government,” needs to helm the cause, and he claimed that he spoke to a staff member of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office about the plan.
David Hoffman, Chicago’s Inspector General from 2005 to 2009, also endorsed the idea, calling the creation of inspector general’s offices a “very efficient tool to maximize integrity and protect public interests.”
At least one Chicago area town has already tried hiring an inspector general, but it did not end well. South suburban Country Club Hills tapped Ronald Evans, the husband of former police chief Regina Evans, to inspect any political wrongdoing in 2010. Ronald was laid off in August and Regina was fired in October.
Both were indicted this year after allegedly misappropriating more than $500,000 of a state grant to make mortgage payments on a theater they owned and give payments to their friends, family and associates between February 2009 and June 2010.
Sun reporter Susan Frick Carlman contributed to this report.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Please join us for an evening of food & drinks to elect
Elizabeth (Liz) Chaplin
DuPage County Board, District 2

July 19, 2012
4:30-8:00 p.m.
1461 Butterfield Rd
Downers Grove, Il 60515
Individual Ticket $35.00
Bronze: $50.00 Silver: $100.00 Gold: $200.00
Cash Bar
                                                                               RSVP appreciated
Please feel free to stop by without an RSVP

Chaplin Announces Candidacy for DuPage County Board District 2

Chaplin Announces Candidacy for DuPage County Board District 2
Former DuPage County Water Commission watch dog Liz Chaplin has kicked off her campaign for the District 2 seat on the DuPage County Board. 
“As your County Board member, I will cut salaries and end benefits for County Board members, eliminate single-bid contracts to political insiders, and continue my fight to reduce your taxes,” said Chaplin.
Chaplin, who served on the Water Commission board from 2002 to 2010, was instrumental in sounding the alarm on that agency’s financial mismanagement and is looking to bring the same scrutiny and accountability to the DuPage County Board.  
“We must eliminate from the county budget big-paying positions with big offices, big titles and very little work,” she said. “As your representative on the DuPage County Board every dollar will be spent to benefit the people of DuPage County.”

Chaplin will work to reduce County Board member salaries and benefits while improving services to taxpayers. “I will work to reduce the full-time salary of part-time board members to half the current amount of $50,079,” she said. 
“I will also work to eliminate members’ pension and benefits,” Chaplin said. “The annual savings from reducing salaries would be more than $450,000, plus many tens of thousands more would be saved by cutting the pension and benefits.”  Chaplin has pledged to refuse a County pension or benefits once elected to the board. 
Chaplin would like to see more businesses given the opportunity to benefit from the millions spent by DuPage County every year. “As a member of the DuPage County Board I will work to eliminate single-bid contracts going to favored companies and ensure that more companies in DuPage County are considered,” she said.
Chaplin has been involved in civic concerns for more than a decade. Following the 2001 discovery of contaminated well water in southwest Downers Grove, she spearheaded the effort to bring a safe water supply to over 800 homes.  
From 2001 to 2003, Chaplin served as the president of the Citizens Advisory Group, representing the residents in meetings with the Village of Downers Grove, DuPage County, DuPage Water Commission and the IEPA. More recently, she assisted citizens in successfully fighting a proposal to build a new Walgreens in a residential neighborhood at 63rd Street and Woodward Avenue Downers Grove.
Chaplin and her husband, Brian, a third-generation member of IBEW Local 701, have lived in Downers Grove for more than 20 years. They are the parents of Ellena 16, Grace, 14, and Adam, 12.
For the past 16 years Chaplin has been employed at Windy City Wire, where she currently works part-time in the accounts payable department. Liz is a past president of Midwest Ballet Theatre and, with her husband, is a long-time volunteer for the organization. Chaplin also has been a member of the Downers Grove Junior Women’s Club, second vice president of the Indian Trail PTA, and a religious education instructor at St. Joseph’s Church.
Chaplin intends to apply her experience as a mother, community activist and DuPage Water Commissioner to improve the operations of DuPage County.  “My interest in DuPage County government has evolved out of my concern for the apparent lack of fiscal responsibility by County Board members as reflected in their big salaries and pensions,” she said. 
“The board’s questionable bidding practices and apparent favoritism are unacceptable,” she said. “Rewarding the taxpayer with improved services should be the top priority.”
Chaplin welcomes the support of all District 2 residents and request their vote on November 6. Citizens are welcome to contact her and the campaign at .

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tom Cullerton Fundraiser

Meet and Greet Tom Cullerton at a BBQ at the home of Carol B Davis, 601 S Summit, Villa Park, from 5:30 to 8:30 this Friday!

Find out why everyone should support Tom Cullerton, current Mayor of Villa Park, as the new Illinois State Senator in District 23 and enjoy a Midwest Mex BBQ with fellow Democrats!

All are welcome! BBQ will include carne asada, hamburgers, hot dogs and the delicacies friends and neighbors are bringing!

County Board Member District 1 Rita Gonzalez, and Candidate for County Board Member District 2 Liz Chaplin as well as other candidates will join us to meet our fellow Democrats!

Don't forget! This Friday! 5:30 to 8:30 PM!

Villa Park Summer Fest

Adam Chaplin, Liz Chaplin, Gary Kleppe and Carol Davis

The Villa Park Summer Fest is a great community event.  I had a great time at the event talking with Democrats and Republicans.  The Chairman of the event Sam Greco stopped by the York Township Democratic booth.  We talked about the Fest, the volunteers and how much time and planning it takes to have such a successful event.  This is the first year they held the event on Friday and Saturday.  Friday night they had a huge turnout.  Congratulations to Villa Park on a great event!

Liz Chaplin and Sam Greco

Great event and opportunity.  An important issue that needs to be addressed is the protection of the individual that is requesting information.  I believe that there needs to be an amendment to the Act that addresses this issue.  When a person files a FOIA they should not be harassed or intimidated and for those that adhere to those practices there should be serious consequences. 

BGA to host citizen training session

Better Government Association officials want to empower suburban residents to keep an eye on local governments and hold them more accountable.
The nonprofit organization is hosting a citizen watchdog training event 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the National-Louis University Lisle campus, 850 Warrenville Road. The free session, taught by pro bono lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis LLP and a representative from the Illinois attorney general’s office, will educate attendees about the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act.

Barb Macholz, a civic engagement coordinator with the BGA, said the group has held a series of seminars for the past two years.
“The main idea is to give citizens the tools of transparency that they can use to get engaged in what’s going on with their local government,” Macholz said. “This is a really good introduction for people to start to understand how these boards work.”
While there have been training events throughout the state, Tuesday night’s will be the first held in DuPage County.
Macholz said the hope is to encourage more suburban residents to become citizen watchdogs.
“We’re finding that the suburban areas tend to be less looked at sometimes,” Macholz said. “There are some little fiefdoms.”
She added, “I feel it’s really important for citizens to get engaged instead of sitting at home and complaining or feeling like they can’t go out and have their voice heard.”
The session will be held in the Public Forum Room at National-Louis University. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at
For more information, contact Macholz by calling (312) 821-9025 or emailing

Monday, June 11, 2012

Elmhurst City Meeting

I have been posting about Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni and the issues surrounding serving as a Mayor and a County Board member at the same time.
Tonight I attended the City of Elmhurst Committee of the Whole meeting and Finance Committee meeting with Don Kirchenberg, Democratic Candidate for DuPage County Board District 2 and my daughter Ellie. 
The Finance Committee has been discussing whether to restrict City Council members to one elected position.  The next meeting on this will be on June 25th.
I have also been following the issue closely on the Elmhurst Patch where they have a very well informed group of citizens who have done an excellent job at educating the rest of us on the issue.  
Tonight I had the pleasure of meeting and thanking these folks for all their hard work and efforts in bringing this important issue to the forefront!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


In any relationship whether it is a marriage, a soccer team, dancers and our government there must be trust, for trust is a fundamental element of a successful relationship.
If a marriage lacks trust the marriage will fail.  If a soccer player does not trust his team mates the team will lose, if a dancer does not trust her partner the dancer will fall.  Fail, lose and fall this is what will happen to our government if there is a lack of trust between the citizens and its government.
Nothing is perfect.  Being transparent and free with information is a good start to improving the system.  When our government distributes our tax dollars to other entities I believe that those entities have a duty to disclose how those funds are being used.
Serving on a board of a non profit organization the non profit has been the recipient of grants.  When applying for these grants the grantor wants a detailed explanation of how the funds will be used. Some of the grants received have stipulations.  Some of the grants require that we distribute a certain amount of tickets to low income families, some of the grants require that the funds are used for education of the students, some of the funds are to go back to investment in the organization.  
In times when every tax need tax dollar is drawn out of the hard working tax payer it is imperative that we know where are tax dollars are going.  Any recipient of tax dollars should have to disclose how they are using these funds.
DuPage County Board should insist that any entity that receives tax dollars post their budgets on line and that these entities also abide by the Freedom of Information Act.
By DuPage County implementing these simple ideas, it would be a giant step in gaining the publics trust.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Questions Surrounding Walgreens

There are questions out there surrounding the Walgreens and how members of organized labor would not support opposition to a project such as this.  The issues were not about 
construction jobs, the issues were about site specific problems.  Issues with traffic flow, lack of sidewalks, safety, the multiple ordinance violations and the village not following its own Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Map.

Downers Grove Gardens neighborhood is a middle class, working class community.  Many of the families that live here are union families.  Sheet Metal, Plumbers and Pipe fitters, Iron Workers, Laborers, Electricians, Truck Drivers and Postal Workers all live on my street and there is a heavy presence in the surrounding neighborhood.  
The outpouring of support from these families that attended weekly neighborhood meetings, walked petitions, signed petitions, researched the proposal and attended many Village of Downers Grove and DuPage County Board meetings was simply amazing.
One of the things that unions pride themselves in is making sure their members are working in a safe environment. That is what we did for our neighborhood.  The proposal was an engineering disaster.  

Our neighborhood supports progress and construction jobs, many of those that signed the petition against the Walgreens, are out of work themselves. We understand the importance of development and the need for people to be working. We are confident that Walgreens will find a location that is suitable and the jobs will be there in the future.

Editorial: DiCianni can’t serve Elmhurst and county

Below is an excellent editorial by the Elmhurst Press with regards to DiCianni wanting to serve as mayor and county board member and the potential conflicts of interest that are obvious.

Editorial: DiCianni can’t serve Elmhurst and county
Posted Apr 07, 2012 @ 04:48 AM

Elmhurst, IL — Electing Mayor Pete DiCianni to the DuPage County Board could be a real bonanza for one town in District 2.

Along with fellow Republican candidates Sean Noonan and Elaine Zannis, DiCianni will face Democratic challenger Elizabeth Chaplin in November for the three board positions representing the district. As mayor of Elmhurst, DiCianni’s neighbors may well have a lot to look forward to with him on the board.
But District 2 also encompasses Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park, Westmont and Woodridge. Can the residents of these communities expect as much from one of their potential new representatives as those in his hometown can?

DiCianni said he intends to continue serving as mayor of Elmhurst and serve on the County Board if elected. Such an arrangement is unacceptable. DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin issued an opinion earlier this year stating that serving as a member of the County Board is not compatible with holding another elective office.

We do not question DiCianni’s dedication to being an effective public servant. But the reality of politics overshadows everything else.

If DiCianni wishes to remain mayor of Elmhurst and a County Board member from District 2, he will have two distinct constituencies to appease. Should Elmhurst be forced to compete with a neighboring town for a project that would benefit the host community, how would DiCianni handle it as a County Board member?

The potential for conflicts of interest are obvious, and DiCianni must choose one position or the other. Residents from throughout District 2 are urged to call (630) 530-3010 and let DiCianni know what they think of this potential double-dipping.Electing Mayor Pete DiCianni to the DuPage County Board could be a real bonanza for one town in District 2.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Respect and Being Kind

Respect and Being Kind
Today my son brought home his report card.  In the comment section the teacher noted that Adam was respectful and kind to all in his class.  I told him to never loss those qualities.  
I started thinking about how that relates to those in public service.  It seems that many of those elected to serve don’t have these qualities.  The compassion, caring and integrity that once where considered important have turned to rude, egotistical and untrustworthy behavior.
Many have accepted this type of behavior from our elected officials.  I have even come across people making excuses for this type of behavior.  
We need people that can empathize with others.  We need to elect people that are concerned with the common good.  We need to elected people that have integrity and that are individuals.

If we don’t start demanding more from our elected leaders things will never change.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Petitioner Withdraws Walgreens Request

After months of attending meetings, submitting many FOIA requests, walking around petitions this chapter of the saga has ended.  We have a lot more work to do on holding our elected officials accountable  and demanding that the complete process is transparent.  But in the meantime....Thank you to my neighbors who, once again, banded together to work for the common good.  Below is an email received today from Doug Kozlowski, Communications Director, Village of Downers Grove:

Good morning,

Please be advised that the petitioner has withdrawn their petition for the proposed Walgreens development at 63rd Street and Woodward Avenue.  There will be no further consideration of this matter by the Village.  The withdrawal notification from the Attorney for the petitioner is attached. 


Doug Kozlowski, Communications Director 
Village of Downers Grov

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Choose DuPage - Lack of Transparency

After many FOIA requests were sent to the Village of Downers Grove with regards to the proposal by Draper and Kramer we were surprised to see an email from Choose Dupage in late 2011 stating that Draper and Kramer wanted to put a Walgreens at the Corner of 63rd and Woodward Ave in Downers Grove.  It appears this project was initiated through Choose DuPage. 
If Choose DuPage fell under the open meetings act our neighborhood would have been made aware  the initial meetings with regards to this project.   
Choose DuPage can meet and discuss plans with developers with public money to do so and yet they do not have to disclose any of this information.
As stated by Maryam Judar and Terry Pastika  "By the time the public is provided with information, government, EDC's, and corporations already have made significant investments.  Notice to the public, which is supposed to expand public involvement, becomes nothing more than a pro forma activity."
Please read below.  The concerns are valid and should be addressed by DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and the DuPage County Board.

Excerpt taken from 
The Goals of Democracy and Those of Economic Development: Bridging the Two While Valuing Public Participation
By Maryam Judar and Terry Pastika
Often times when a government entity intends to take action on an issue where an EDC is involved, the first details received by the public are through a news release, a specific governmental body agenda, or public notice related to a public hearing.  The Illinois citizenry is already plagued with poor civic health due to a variety of reasons[10] but when there is civic interest and motivation to participate in the economic development process, systemic barriers present themselves that relate to the lack of information flowing to the public and little time to adequately assess and act on information.  By the time the public is provided with information, government, EDCs, and corporations already have made significant investments.  Notice to the public, which is supposed to expand public involvement, becomes nothing more than a pro forma activity. 
When the public attempts to obtain information to evaluate development decisions that involve EDCs,[11] the stark reality hits that meetings are closed, and information disclosure about an EDC’s activity is based on the EDC’s discretion or through individual Freedom of Information Act requests to the various public bodies with which the EDC liaisons.  A civicly combustible environment emerges when there is a lack of balance with respect to the free flow of information to the public on clear issues of public concern in favor of economic development and the role of private corporations.  When citizens attempt to fully avail themselves of what limited political process may remain to independently determine if the public good is indeed served, the perceptions are polarized as either democracy in action or an inhibition of economic development.[12]    

For the full article please see below link:

Choose DuPage

Having read a lot in the recent past about DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin and the completed audits by Crowe Horwath on many board and commissions within DuPage, one entity that was not on the radar was Choose DuPage.  Choose DuPage is a private public entity,  the concept is based on economic development.  While we all recognize the importance of a strong business community and how this benefits DuPage,  should public dollars be given to this entity while DuPage is slowly cutting funds to human services.  The below story explains how Choose DuPage plans to educate non profits how to ween off public funding. Maybe Choose DuPage should follow their own advice and lead by example.

5/25/2012 10:56:00 AM
Choose DuPage task force starts program to aid nonprofits
Business Ledger Report
LISLE --  Choose DuPage Human Services Task Force, in conjunction with the DuPage Federation on Human Service Reform, has initiated a pilot project to train key personnel and incorporate best business practices into the human services sector.
The project, called New Tools for New Times, aims to help not-for-profits create a flexible plan that will encourage growth and respond to DuPage County’s changing demographics and financial needs. The project is jointly funded by the Choose DuPage Foundation and the DuPage Community Foundation, and the training will be delivered by the Business Innovation Services group at the University of Illinois in Naperville. 
Financial demands, coupled with rapidly changing demographics and reduced state and federal funding, have required human service organizations to reevaluate its business practices in order to create sustainability and growth. An influx of low-income persons moving into DuPage County, along with existing residents suffering from a sluggish economy, have resulted in an increased demand for services in the human services sector.
Therefore, organizations providing services must respond to this demand by implementing tools that will help them serve the community in an environment of declining resources by increasing efficiency, decreasing error, and eliminating tasks that do not directly help achieve the organization’s mission. 
“Choose Dupage recognizes that for true change to take place, organizations must be innovative, have a flexible philosophy and be willing to welcome a culture shift at the ground level, including a change in existing behaviors and fundamental beliefs within the organization,” said Greg Bedalov, president & CEO of Choose DuPage.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

SCARE Funding

After almost two hours of public comment in support of funding for SCARE it appears the county board is listening.  The crowd gave applause after just about every speaker. The county board and chairman graciously let the crowd show their support.  On Tuesday June 5, 2012 the county will vote on the matter.

DuPage eyes funding SCARCE through 2013
By Susan Frick Carlman June 1, 2012 5: A DuPage County proposal to provide up to $195,000 for School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education over the next 17 months aims to put the environmentally minded organization on a path to financial independence.
The resolution, up for review by the county’s environmental committee Tuesday morning, frames SCARCE as a hired consultant and allocates support through Nov. 30, 2013, the end of the fiscal year. Its rationale is based on officials’ belief that the agency is in a position to tap new revenue streams and place less reliance on funding support from DuPage, which in recent years has covered nearly half of the agency’s $325,000 budget. Revenue for the county’s support of SCARCE programs and services has come from landfill tipping fees and permit fees, both of which have declined since the practice began.
County Board member Jim Healy of Naperville said if the sum is approved by the full board, it will shrink in subsequent years.
“It would be reduced again, and then it would be reduced down again,” said Healy, who has noted that the goal has always been for SCARCE to secure funding from more stable sources. “I think the county has to make a decision about what level is appropriate coming from the county, and what should be found from other sources.”
Committee member Dirk Enger has been working with chairman Jeff Redick on addressing the June 30 expiration of county funding for SCARCE. He’s not so sure the support from DuPage has to wane after next year.
“I think there’s a lot of things that the county hasn’t taken into consideration,” Enger said. “What’s on the horizon is the permit (fees) that will be coming out of College of DuPage projects.”
Even more significant, he said, is the pending Royce Renaissance project in unincorporated Oakbrook Terrace, which would bring up to 1,925 new living units and a collection of commercial buildings to a site near 22nd Street and Butterfield Road. It’s expected to take three or four years, Enger said.
Kay McKeen, founder and executive director of SCARCE, is hopeful that the measure will meet the County Board’s approval.
“I’m very glad for 18 months, so that we have time to work on some more things,” McKeen said Friday afternoon.
She and her small staff have been studying possibilities for new income, including an upcoming grant round at the DuPage Community Foundation. They also are laying plans for their first fundraising event, set for Oct. 24 at the Westin Hotel in Lombard.
McKeen isn’t new to gathering income from sources such as scrap metal dealers and electronics recyclers. But those generally generate small sums.
“We’re going to have to do more than that, so it’s a new mindset for us,” she said.
The funding issues, which have taken center stage for much of the past year, have drained some of the energy McKeen and her fleet of volunteers are able to devote to the growing array of programs provided by SCARCE at no cost to the participants.
“Of course you’d like to be able to do everything you want to do,” she said. “But this is going to allow us 18 months without scary things and hassles and all that. And we’ll go from there.