Naperville City Council Asks Its Public Library to Make Cuts

An alert longtime CB reader took the time to send a link to a Daily Herald story about Naperville’s public library today:

The library’s levy request of $12,450,000 for fiscal year 2012 was 3.15 percent, or $400,000 more than the previous year, but city council members asked the board to find and consider as much as $300,000 in additional abatements.
[…]
The library board is then set to present the proposal to the city council on Jan. 26. Staff will now work toward determining the specific line items in each budget to cut before the presentation.
[…]
Once the board makes its presentation to the city council, the council is expected to review the proposal before deciding how much of the library’s levy to abate in March.

Does this mean assertions that the DeKalb City Council cannot set the DeKalb Public Library’s levy are hogwash? Yeah, it probably does mean that.

Library Finally Shows Up

DeKalb Public Library (DKPL) showed up for a dog-and-pony show at City Council last night, armed with packets of information that, once again, escaped being received and filed publicly by Council. The only conceivable reason for such a presentation is to rewrite the narrative of its dealings of the past three years into the meeting minutes, actively assisted by city staff and unchallenged by a negligent, collaborative legislature.

Still, there were educational moments. How else would we find out that an end-of-year fund balance of $1.2 million equals zero? That DKPL is actually quite poor in spite of its only recently abandoned plan to purchase $2 million in real estate?

At least Director Coover treated Council more like adults this time by including an actual Illinois Public Library Annual Report (IPLAR) in each packet. Perhaps someone will think to ask about the omissions in Section 26, which we will look at over the jump. Continue reading Library Finally Shows Up

IPLARs FY2008-10

After the jump, see the table containing selected information extracted from three years’ worth of Illinois Public Library Annual Reports (IPLARs) filed by the DeKalb Public Library with the Illinois State Library. Included: information on revenues, expenditures, programs, attendance, resources/holdings and other numbers and answers I found interesting for one reason or another. Not included: library identification data, personnel position details, library trustee information and items deemed redundant or ho-hum.

Also:

–If a FY column item is left blank, it means the question was not asked that year.

–Answers that might vary from one day or month to another, for example the number of registered borrowers, are generally required to reflect the count on the last day of the fiscal year.

–Copies of the source material are yours for the asking. Send e-mail requests to yinn@citybarbs.com. Continue reading IPLARs FY2008-10

IPLAR Form

Library ShelvesIPLAR stands for Illinois Public Library Annual Report. I have received IPLARs for the past three fiscal years from the Illinois State Library. They are different from what the DeKalb Public Library has been sharing with the City of DeKalb in that the IPLAR form is 16+ pages while the information given to city council members barely covers a page or two. I can find neither version at the library’s website, nor know which is given a community member who stops by and asks for its the annual report.

The IPLARs are filed electronically so they are easy to obtain from IPL. Supplemental reports, for example those regarding the accumulations of funds that interest us, are paper reports and will therefore take longer to obtain.

Instead of uploading some 50 pages, I will attempt to summarize the reports in a table. Stay tuned.

Library Annual Reports to the City

Library ShelvesAfter the jump are the last three fiscal years’ worth of DeKalb Public Library’s annual reports.

DKPL is obligated to provide a report to the City of DeKalb within a month of the end of each fiscal year, although according to an official with the Illinois State Library it is not actually statutorily obligated to have the report received and filed by the City.

The same official was able to confirm for me that DKPL has indeed filed a copy of its latest report with ISL, which reassures me somewhat that it was not manufactured last week in response to my FOIA request.

What would be even better is if the City of DeKalb would change its policy to receive and file the reports. This would provide some evidence of Council oversight with less bother for Clerk and city staff when it comes to retrieval. Continue reading Library Annual Reports to the City

Does DeKalb Have the Authority to Determine the Library’s Levy?

In the Daily Chronicle today, I see this:

During Monday night’s DeKalb City Council meeting, McIntryre [sic] asked aldermen to not approve the library’s levy request.

He said the library board did not receive approval to accumulate funds for the purpose of building or purchasing a site for a new library, which he said was the intent of board members. McIntyre said that is a violation of the Illinois Local Library Act.

But DeKalb City Attorney Norma Guess said the city council does not have the authority to not approve the library’s levy.

Oh, yeah? Why does the levy request come before Council, then? And: Ms. Guess, this is not what you’ve said before. Continue reading Does DeKalb Have the Authority to Determine the Library’s Levy?

Star Covers Library Comments at Council Meeting

I see some of comments left at the Daily Chronicle website express puzzlement that Mac McIntyre hasn’t yet filed suit in the case of the DeKalb Public Library Board’s violations of the Open Meetings Act. Today the Northern Star sheds some light:

Mac McIntyre, member of the Finance Advisory Committee, said the DeKalb Public Library board voted in closed session, on May 12, on the purchase of the neighboring DeKalb Clinic.

“In doing so, they broke the law. They also broke the law by not publishing that they were going into closed session or give any reason for going into closed session,” McIntyre said. “There was $1.8 million of public tax dollars that were approved and levied in closed session in three meetings of the Library Board…That $1.8 million is roughly equal to their annual operating budget.”

According to the Illinois Open Meetings Act, voting on appropriations of public funds in a closed forum is prohibited. McIntyre called for the postponement of the DeKalb Clinic purchase proposed on Oct. 25 until an investigation by the city council was made and it issued a public report of the findings.

My take: Mac is giving Council a chance to address the DKPL violations just as he allowed time for the State’s Attorney to act. How embarrassing it would be to file suit, only to discover afterward that Mayor Kris “Ethics Warrior” Povlsen was already fixin’ to clean up Dodge. Why, it would be almost as embarrassing as having a council that chose to do nothing at all.

DC Hits It Out of the Park

“Schaumburg: Open meetings agreement disappoints”.

The settlement – filed and approved in court this week and amounting to little more than a slap on the wrist – shows us that the DeKalb Library Board still has no credibility and that state laws in place to enforce and protect open and transparent government are viewed as a nuisance by many of those in power, including DeKalb County’s presiding judge.

It’s as incisive an editorial on this matter as I’d hoped to see, but didn’t really think I would. Bravo!