Thursday, March 14, 2013
Tri-State Fire Protection District Chief Michelle Gibson’s life partner Jill Strenzel is a member of the board that governs the agency, the Better Government Organization found.
The watchdog group Better Government Association (BGA) is reporting that the life partner of Tri-State Fire Protection District chief Michelle Gibson, Jill Strenzel, is a long-time member of the board that has voted on Strenzel’s promotion, salary and benefits for at least six years. According to the BGA report, Strenzel, who lives with Gibson, voted on her partner’s promotion to chief in 2007, as well as on multiple items detailing pay and benefits; Gibson currently earns about $140,000 annually, plus benefits like an SUV, $30,000 more than in 2007 and higher than the average for the area ($129,000), the organization said. Experts consulted by the BGA said that the revelations were not illegal, but certainly a conflict of interest. "It’s…
Saturday, December 22, 2012
The bad news: Job growth in Illinois is too slow, and prison inmates probably watch better TV than you. The good news: Your lawmaker is one of the highest paid in the nation.
Feeling all warm and full of good cheer? Bah! Here's a little something to satisfy the Scrooge in you before the spirit of Christmas takes hold. We Need More Jobs: At 8.7 percent, the Illinois unemployment rate is 1 percent above the national rate. And job creation is improving at a faster clip all around us, in Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa and Missouri, on average, according to Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner at the Illinois Policy Institute. "The reality is Illinois’ poor policies aren't allowing the state to participate fully in the national recovery. If only Illinois’ unemployment rate were equal to the average of its neighbors, 100,000 more Illinoisans would be working. Yes, jobs are slowly returning to the state, but that’s …
Saturday, March 24, 2012
The Better Government Association accuses the suburban bus agency of stonewalling on safety-related documents.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
The suburban bus company Pace is being sued for withholding information about bus accidents, and alcohol and drug testing of bus drivers. The suit, filed March 21 by the Better Government Association (BGA), alleges Pace violated the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in refusing to turn over documents related to bus accidents, and alcohol and drug testing of bus drivers that the BGA has requested. The BGA is a nonprofit, non-partisan watchdog group. “Pace is a taxpayer-supported agency,” said BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw. “It shows a remarkable degree of arrogance to refuse to release documents that are so clearly in the public realm—and that other agencies have, at times, turned over without even a formal FOIA request." “The …
Monday, July 18, 2011
Better Government Assocation urges Quinn veto, Madigan supports rule change that aids enforcement.
Not even two years after sweeping changes streamlined and simplified parts of the state's rules for obtaining public information, a bill that some feel throws a wrench in the system awaits a decision by Gov. Pat Quinn. House Bill 1716, approved by stage legislators in the waning days of the spring session in May, most notably changes how government entities respond to Freedom of Information Act requests by private citizens who frequently ask for materials under the law. The measure, which also adds fees to commercial requests involving research and retrieval of information in storage, came in response to claims by government agencies that said they had become bogged down by an increased number of requests since revised FOIA rules to effect…