College Town Partners is All About TIF

Yes, “is.” Emails obtained by Michael and Misty Haji-Sheikh of Preserve Our Neighborhoods show that even though collaborators ultimately rejected formal incorporation of College Town Partners in May 2014, the intention remained to suck sweet, sweet tax dollars out of City of DeKalb via Tax Increment Financing (not even getting into NIU and use of…

Why I’ve Challenged the DeKalb City Manager’s Residency

During the regular city council meeting last night, I challenged DeKalb city manager Anne Marie Gaura’s claim that she lives in DeKalb. The DeKalb Municipal Code does not explicitly require that the city manager live in DeKalb, but the city’s contract with Gaura does. She was obligated to establish residency in the city within one…

Tim Struthers Gave DeKalb’s Mayor Talking Points When the College Town Partners Story Broke

If you haven’t heard, banker Tim Struthers has been appointed by Governor Rauner to the NIU Board of Trustees, pending approval by the Illinois Senate. Trouble is, there’s compelling evidence of major conflicts of interest in his appointment, which the Edgar County Watchdogs have outlined admirably. Struthers presently serves on the DeKalb County Sanitary District,…

Request Accepted for Review of City Manager’s Pay Raise Decision

The Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor has accepted my Request for Review of the DeKalb city council’s decision of May 26 to raise the city manager’s pay without public discussion. From the Request: There was no public deliberation of this matter even though citizens requested beforehand, both privately and publicly, that Council remove the…

DeKalb Violated the Open Meetings Act in Approving Settlement Agreement

The determination arrived Friday. Find it here. The Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (PAC) has found that City of DeKalb violated the Open Meetings Act (OMA) in two ways when it approved a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice on January 12: The city misused the exception to open meetings having to…

Five Reasons to Believe DeKalb Tried to Hide DOJ Communications about Website Compliance Issues

Mayor John Rey had a guest column in the Chronicle this week. As is par for the course with City of DeKalb administrations, he calls criticism of the city’s actions “misinformation” and “rumors.” There are two reasons people are upset. One is evidence that the city withheld information about the U.S. Department of Justice evaluation…

Confronting Reality at Last? We’ll See

From the Daily Chronicle today comes “DeKalb aldermen confront budgeting issues.” During their Monday discussion of the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, DeKalb aldermen were told the city will need to cut services or boost revenue in order to maintain operations in the coming years. Beginning July 1, alderman were told,…

How Much Change IS Afoot in DeKalb City Government? Maybe Not Enough

The Daily Chronicle notes that new DeKalb city manager Anne Marie Gaura has made some personnel changes. I am particularly gratified by this statement: The moves all deal with personnel issues, a subject on which employers are generally limited on what they can say, but they could have announced they happened. The Chronicle’s actual main…

Now We’re Getting Somewhere

Turns out, City of DeKalb’s press release this week about hiring outside help has a backstory, and the Daily Chronicle has unearthed it.. New DeKalb City Manager Anne Marie Gaura wants the city to hire an outside financial expert after staff recently broke rules for making purchases in excess of $20,000. … First, the council…