Determination: DeKalb must release locations of license plate readers

The Public Access Counselor of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office has determined that City of DeKalb improperly denied a Freedom of Information Act request for the locations of its license plate reader cameras (LPRs). DeKalb fought release of the information beyond all reason. This post examines three ways the city embarrassed itself doing it. The…

The depot’s place in a comprehensive development plan

During DeKalb’s last Planning & Zoning Committee (P&Z) meeting, a member of the public asked whether Union Pacific Railroad intended to sell its old train depot. The reply: City Manager Nicklas responded he has had several conversations regarding the rumor of Union Pacific selling the depot, however as far as he knows they are not…

Children as city revenue sources

Schools in Illinois are not allowed to “ticket” children for misbehavior. So they have the police do it, according to a new series of articles by Pro Publica and Chicago Tribune. A boy named Kameron, who had shoved his friend over a Lipton peach iced tea in the school cafeteria, had been cited for violating…

DeKalb’s ‘Suburban’ issue of fire safety

DeKalb County is concerned about a situation that could potentially affect the ability of City of DeKalb to fight a fire on property just outside city limits. City of DeKalb — which would fight a fire there if one happened — wrangled an agreement a couple years ago that might help to assess the risk.…

DeKalb’s discussion of lead service line replacement leaves out key provision of new law

City of DeKalb appears to be unaware that a new state law changes the rules for how lead water service lines are replaced. During its regular meeting Monday, the city council discussed whether to use grant money to offer incentives to property owners to replace the portions of lead service lines that lie within their…

Among the issues plaguing delivery of care in Illinois skilled nursing facilities

Part Two of the nursing home sales & ownership series; Part One is here. Almost a year ago, in the cause of shedding the landlord collectively known as Hunter Properties, City of DeKalb signed a settlement agreement with them. DeKALB – After a series of unresolved code violations, the City of DeKalb and Hunter Properties…

Support of the clerk’s office helps protect DeKalb elections

The Daily Chronicle published a story last week about the DeKalb city clerk’s absenteeism at city council meetings. Sasha Cohen’s attendance record since taking office is running about 50%, and the city council is whining about it. Unfortunately, the article is missing context, such as the double standards and hostile environment at play. While I’m…

Letter urges investigation of the housing authority’s contracts with the mayor’s IT firm

Derek Van Buer’s latest letter to DeKalb County Board regarding Housing Authority of the County of DeKalb (HACD) urges authorities to investigate evident irregularities with HACD’s service contracts with the DeKalb mayor’s firm, Sundog IT, including allegations that HACD is not following HUD procurement rules nor its own procurement policies in approving and executing contracts…

Unauthorized compensation of city commissioners: the fix should be simple

City of DeKalb has been paying compensation to at least two of its advisory commissions without proper authorization. Members of the Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z) and the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners both receive what look like meeting per diems in the expenditure records. But it turns out the payments aren’t properly authorized…

We could strengthen open meetings laws by plugging the ‘walking quorum’ loophole

I decided to find out more about Sycamore’s new city manager (who comes to us from Wisconsin) and ended up adding to my vocabulary. A ‘walking quorum’ is a series of gatherings among separate groups of members of a governmental body, each less than quorum size, who agree, tacitly or explicitly, to act uniformly in…