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Archive for the ‘Village Government’ Category

Paula Jacobsen

The latest Village newsletter came out recently, and it mentions the results of the latest Village annual audit among other things. The sound financial position of our Village is noted, but what is absent of any narrative is how earlier this year, first term trustee Paula Jacobsen caused a potentially damaging accusation that caused the auditor to investigate that accusation.

One question Jacobson was asked to answer during the audit was:

“In your opinion, are there any areas of operation of the Village that do not receive enough oversight of management or board, or any particular weaknesses in internal controls?” 

Jacobsen checked off “Yes.” As a Trustee, she could have taken the opportunity beforehand to gather specific information and to offer a detailed explanation or perhaps even actual facts, but instead submitted her vague audit questionnaire on March 17, 2019 (perhaps hoping to disrupt the April 2 election?).

Jacobson had a wealth of resources at her disposal for weeks before if she had any questions whatsoever on completing her forms from the audit firm. She could have easily gathered information from the Village Treasurer, Director of Administration, Clerk or even the Trustee assigned to Finance, but she did not avail herself of those ample opportunities according to recordings. She could have provided an answer to the question she was asked instead of repeating an anonymous rumor told to her by some residents.

Instead, when asked why she answered “Yes” to the audit question, her initial answer was:

“While I don’t know that it is considered fraud, but some residents have claimed that contracts are being given to certain members of family of the Board, however, that is not evidence of guilt. I don’t know that we have a clear process to evaluate this if in fact this is happening.   I’m not aware of any contract awarded to a Board member.” 

The first thought that came to our minds upon hearing this was that of an immature four-year-old who answers the question “why did you eat those cookies?” with, “Someone said I could.”

Though asked repeatedly, Jacobson would not, or more probably could not offer any specificity to her unsubstantiated allegation, and at times her answers to Trustees questions on her inexplicable answer changed from one minute or meeting month to another.

For example, before the auditor was asked to read back her answer to the question in the presence of the Board, Jacobsen denied checking the “Yes” box repeatedly. She also denied making any claim or charge of process or fraud issues, and she only began to recant her statements once the village president asked the auditor to read them into the record.

Jacobson also stated on more than one occasion that she understood that her responses to all audit questions were private and would be kept anonymous.   Those wishing to listen to the recording of this exchange can do so by clicking here.

She followed up at the June Board of Trustees meeting by reading a written statement that actually reversed her position in May. She stated she believes that fraud and processes have been violated at the Village, and further she made a secondary allegation that the auditing firm was not independent thereby impugning the reputation of the village treasurer, the independent auditor and the finance chairman Mr. Croll and the Village board.

If this sounds pathetic, it is, and it goes on (and on). Rather than continue with what is basically transcribing her lunacy from recordings, we have a better solution for all involved.

The solution to this problem will be for the village to spend further taxpayer dollars to “investigate” the rumor that someone repeated to Jacobson, and then hopefully follow that by providing educational information to Jacobson on the importance and serious nature of the annual financial audit so that in the future she may confidently answer the audit questionnaire with facts instead of vague, unfounded rumor.

-The Observer

Related: Flip, Flop: What changed your minds Trustees Messer, Meroni, and Selman?  (August 30, 2011)

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Barrington Hills acting Police Chief Joseph Colditz has been elevated to the top spot on a permanent basis.

He replaces Richard Semelsberger, who retired in June after four years as the top cop. Colditz, who will receive $135,000 in the first year of his new job, previously served as deputy chief.

Village President Martin McLaughlin said the village received 45 applications for the post. That number was narrowed to eight, with three finalists then interviewed by the village board’s personnel committee.

McLaughlin said his decision to appoint Colditz, which was ratified by the village board last week, was based in part on his good relationship with police officers and strong budgeting skills.

Read more here.

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No injuries were reported after lightning struck a Barrington Hills house Tuesday morning, authorities said.

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District was dispatched at 7:07 a.m. for the lightning strike at 30W807 Longmeadow Drive. The first arriving units arrived on scene and initially did not see any flames from the front of the structure. Upon further examination, a small fire was seen in a window on the second floor above the garage.

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All told, District 220 will likely spend over $1M on this property.

Barrington Area Unit District 220 is exploring the idea of demolishing a house it bought from a fire district, then using the Dundee Road property for improving traffic flow and parking at two adjacent schools.

District 220 purchased the roughly 1-acre site with a vacant house at 36 E. Dundee Road from the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District. The $500,000 deal was struck this year after Cook County rejected a controversial plan to build a new fire station on the site between Barrington Middle School-Prairie Campus and District 220’s early learning center.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services David Bein said the first move would be to demolish the single-family house. He said preliminary estimates indicate the demolition would cost $60,000. It could cost about $500,000 to use the former fire district land for a project to improve the parking and traffic flow at the middle school and early learning center, Bein said.

Read more here.

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It’s not Batman or Superman, but police departments throughout the Chicago suburbs and northwest Indiana have a new crime-fighting partner: Amazon.

Department officials said their partnerships with the company’s Ring unit, which sells home security systems, most notably the glowing combination doorbell and camera, are already helping them investigate crimes. Partnerships have been established with police departments around the region including Naperville, Aurora, Elgin, Palos Heights, Skokie, Lincolnwood, and Hammond. Others, such as the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, are still considering the proposal.

Ring and its companion app, Neighbors, enables owners of both Ring and non-Ring security systems, or anyone who might have taken video on a cellphone, to share them online and comment on images.

Police, through their partnerships with Ring, in many cases established just months ago, can use the app to send out community alerts, and also seek out privately owned videos that could be used in criminal investigations. Police, however, don’t have unfettered access to videos.

Read more from the Daily Southtown here.

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Rebecca June Soderman

Family members of an 18-year-old Barrington High School student killed after the car she was a passenger in crashed into a tree at 93 miles per hour on March 4, 2017, tearfully described her as someone who “cared more about the feelings of others than those of herself.”

The emotional impact statements about the death of Rebecca June Soderman were made Friday before McHenry County Judge Micheal Coppedge, weeks after the driver of the vehicle, Matthew Zeek, 25, of Rolling Meadows pleaded guilty to reckless homicide.

Zeek, who was speeding in a 25 mph zone on Plum Tree Road west of Rock Ridge Road in Barrington Hills, was sentenced to 2 ½ years of probation. He was also sentenced to community service and served 30 days of a 180 day jail. Should he violate his probation the remainder of his jail sentence will be imposed, prosecutors said.

Family members of an 18-year-old Lake Barrington High School student killed after the car she was a passenger in crashed into a tree at 93 miles per hour on March 4, 2017, tearfully described her as someone who “cared more about the feelings of others than those of herself.”

Read more here.

Related: Rolling Meadows man sentenced to probation for fatal 2017 crash

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Celebrate under a full harvest moon at Citizens for Conservation’s Ignite the Night.

The event will feature live music, food, stargazing, flashlight walks for kids, a raffle, horse-drawn wagon rides and will be capped off by a spectacular bonfire. Ignite the Night will be held from 5 to 10 PM on Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Spring Creek Forest Preserve and the Barrington Hills Park District, 361 Bateman Road, Barrington Hills.

The evening will include a cookout dinner; beer, wine and soft drinks and music by Beamish. Attendees will also have the chance to view the night sky, stars and planets with professional-grade telescopes.

Tickets are $50 in advance and $65 after Friday, Sept. 13, for adults; $25 for teens through age 20, and $12 for children 12 and younger. Online ordering is available on CFC’s website.

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, call Ginger Underwood at 847.331.3568 or ttonkajo@yahoo.com

Ignite the Night aims to be a zero-waste event, and Mindful Waste will assist in making sure all packaging is compostable, recyclable or reusable. Mindful Waste volunteers will be on hand to educate and help with the sorting process. CFC’s goal is divert as much material from the landfill as possible.

All proceeds from this event will support Citizens for Conservation. Supporters of the event include the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Barrington Hills Park District.

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