DeKalb’s financial forecast through 2023

You need to know what that hole is, even if you can’t solve it right now. ~Larry Kujovich, Executive Partners, Inc., addressing the DeKalb city council on strategic planning (2013). Last week, DeKalb’s finance department shared an operating budget forecast through 2023 with the finance advisory committee. Having obtained a copy, I’ve created a graphic…

Comment on the announced departure of NIU President Doug Baker

The departure of NIU President Doug Baker is not simply a response to an OEIG report of mismanagement. In my opinion, it’s also the product of citizens’ efforts that began in May 2014 when someone anonymously mailed the College Town Partners agreement to a founder of a group of concerned DeKalb residents called Preserve Our…

Attacks on Citizens Who Speak Up: Another Reason for an Ethics Commission

In a recent post, CityEthics’ Robert Wechsler tackles the issue of public officials’ attacking citizens who question their ethics (my emphasis). …[W]hen they engage in ethical misconduct, when they misuse their office or deal irresponsibly with their conflicts of interest, then they are acting not in their own right, but as government officials. And as…

Illinois’ Model Ethics Ordinance & City of DeKalb

…the Illinois model ordinance [for adoption by local units of government] is not even minimal. It only deals with political activities and gifts. There is nothing about conflicts; the word doesn’t even appear. To call it an ethics ordinance is like calling a burglary law a criminal code. ~ Robert Wechsler, CityEthics.org Minimal as it…

DeKalb’s Financial Hole

As with yesterday’s clip, today’s video comes from a recording of the April 2013 workshop meeting involving DeKalb officials and the financial consultants Executive Partners, Inc. In this one, EPI’s Larry Kujovich explains why the city needs to shift to a more strategic, longer-term approach in allocating its resources. The clip comes from the first…

What the Financial Consultant Said about DeKalb’s Business Friendliness

The setup: The April 2013 workshop meeting between city officials and their contracted financial consultants, Executive Partners, Inc., was coming to a close. EPI’s Larry Kujovich (on the left) and Rob Oberwise have been talking about the importance of image building to economic development. Alderman Ron Naylor remarks that economic development has been a priority…

Sustainable is the Last Thing This Is

A Chronicle article last week talks about all the new building, equipment and personnel the City of DeKalb is investing into its fire department. I read the article after just having skimmed through the city’s check register for August. The police department spent, among other things, $125,000+ on software and $2600 on the new dog,…

City of DeKalb, Truancy Services are Not Your Job

Do you ever go into a store during a weekday when your own kids are in school, and see similarly-aged kids and think, “I wonder why they’re not in school?” I’ve done so quite reflexively on occasion, and when that happens I say or do…nothing. Because it’s none of my business. This is between the…

A Tale of One Public Servant

Private citizen Arthur Clennam finally catches Mr. Barnacle in. Mr. Barnacle heads up Circumlocution, a government office with a far-flung reputation as a model for How Not to Do It. “It is competent,” said Mr. Barnacle, “to any member of the–Public,” mentioning that obscure body with reluctance, as his natural enemy, “to memorialise the Circumlocution…

DeKalb’s Business Friendliness

I am rapidly developing a crush on Larry Kujovich, a member of the group of financial consultants hired by the City of DeKalb. Still working on taking in the whole of the April 13 workshop video, I swooned this time during a discussion of image-building as part of economic development strategy. Use terms like “image…