Conflicts of Interest & the Tip of the Iceberg

Council’s affirmation of the mayor’s removal of John Guio from the Plan Commission for reasons of ethics comes as no surprise. I wonder, however, if any of the aldermen get that wife Sue Guio’s former position with the city presented more in the way of potential conflicts of interest than her place on the board of Hope Haven ever has.

But I digress. What this action does is to set a precedent for an ethical cleansing, and just in time. DeKalb City Council must turn its attention to the board of the DeKalb Public Library, DKPL’s own conflicts of interest and its years-long pattern of ignoring the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act.

This will not be easy, because it is apparent most council members do not fully understand their responsibilities over this body and I’m betting city staff are not racing to tell them. The aldermen will have to insist on the discussion. Continue reading Conflicts of Interest & the Tip of the Iceberg

CAFR & Component Units

Library ShelvesThis is a follow up to previous posts about DeKalb Public Library (DKPL), here and here, in which I posed questions about audits of DKPL and whether the failure to estimate six types of revenues in its budget for several years ever sent up red flags for the auditor of the City of DeKalb’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

Here are the facts: Continue reading CAFR & Component Units

Library Timeline & Pertinent Expenditures

The DeKalb Library (DKPL) board passed a resolution at the beginning of 2007 to expand and improve Library facilities. This indeed has happened; since its passage, the Library started a fund for a new boiler, accepted TIF money for window and other improvements, and remodeled the Youth Services department and the lounge.

Almost immediately, however, DKPL also began looking beyond its own premises. We know this because starting April 2007, DKPL began meeting in closed sessions under 5ILCS 120/2(2)(5), which is an exemption under the Open Meetings Act for discussing the sale or lease of real property. Also, DKPL paid for a consultation with Guio Real Estate in June of that year. Continue reading Library Timeline & Pertinent Expenditures

Fun with CAFR & the Liberry

Library ShelvesThe DeKalb Public Library has a current annual budget of $1.9 million, yet apparently has enough funds on hand to buy property valued at $1.8 million. That’s quite a reserve! Normally for slush I’d call for a refund (about $40 per resident) but perhaps we should ask DKPL to help the city save for the police station instead. [/snark]

At any rate, in trying to ascertain whether red flags went up for the auditor regarding DKPL’s budgeting practices, I’ve resorted to a careful reading of Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR, pronounced KAY-fur) and am through nearly 40% of the CAFR for FY2009. Generally it’s not as bad a slog as one might fear, though there are exceptions… Continue reading Fun with CAFR & the Liberry

The Library Fund

The DeKalb Public Library’s annual budget is part of the City of DeKalb’s budget and has to be approved by City Council.

In Fiscal Year 2008, which began July 1, 2007, a significant change was made in DPL’s budget that went unremarked. That year and each year since, the Library has not been projecting/budgeting all of its revenues. Here is what the change looks like:

[table id=5 /] Continue reading The Library Fund

Taj Mah-Library

[Updated 7/18 with links to more coverage, at bottom.]

Dimensions, features and amenities planned for the new DeKalb Public Library have been lifted from “A Building Program for the DeKalb Public Library,” September 19, 2009. The plan is to build an 89,000 square foot facility that serves 70,000 people, based on projections of 2% growth per year out to 2030. Building and participant details come after the jump. Continue reading Taj Mah-Library