The “T” word

He said it. I knew he would. It was only a matter of time. New mayor Cohen Barnes called the DeKalb city council a “team” during the last council meeting. It’s horrifying.

Story of Dixon sparks ideas for preventing fraud and building trust in city government

Last night I went to the Egyptian Theatre to watch “All the Queen’s Horses,” the documentary of Rita Crundwell’s embezzlement of more than $53 million from City of Dixon when she was treasurer-comptroller there. I won’t spoil the film, because even a person who followed Crundwell’s arrest and the aftermath quite closely is bound to…

Contributions to Mayor Rey’s Campaign

A few weeks ago I argued that City of DeKalb will continue to fail at solving its problems until we elect leaders who understand and value public ethics. The apparent intertwining of city business with Mayor Rey’s campaign business reinforces my position. January 9: DeKalb city council approves the hiring of a consultant to help…

This Election, Let’s Discuss Remedial Action for DeKalb

The Chronicle has published a letter to the editor that caught my eye. It’s about local candidates and their positions on the issues. The words that they use may change, but the rhetoric is the same. The writer goes on to list the same old, same old: DeKalb-NIU relations, easing of the tax burden, and…

Part 2 of Account 8306, Special Events

It has come to my attention that clarification is needed on the post about the General Fund “special events” account named 8306. If you contact City of DeKalb and they tell you that 8306 is for events such as helping with the expenses of July 4th festivities at Hopkins Park, that is 100% correct. However,…

City of DeKalb and Its Incompatible Offices

DeKalb isn’t particularly good at observing boundaries. One example is that DeKalb’s contracted attorney is allowed to sit with the city council during planning sessions as an assistant in setting strategic priorities. In other words, a contractor gets to step out of his assigned role to provide unfettered input into public policy that the public…

Schrader: Loss of KishHealth Holdings, a Community-Owned Asset

**Update: More about this now posted at Barry’s Blog.** KishHealth System officials answered questions from the public following a presentation before the DeKalb County Board last night. While the Daily Chronicle chose not to address an exchange regarding who owns the real estate where Kishwaukee Hospital operates (as well as other KishHealth System holdings acquired…

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…

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,…