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Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

ethics

Last Winter, the Village of Lake Barrington published the following in their seasonal newsletter:

Lake Barrington’s Ethics Commission

Did you know that the Village has an Ethics Commission? The independent commission adds to the overall transparency of our government and serves to investigate complaints alleging violations of the Ethics Chapter of the Village Code. We are proud to report that this 3-member Commission has never once had to meet regarding a violation!”

Their Municipal Code actually devotes a chapter to ethics, and the main page of their website contains a link to, “Report a Concern.”

As previously chronicled in this publication, if one searches our Village Code, keying in the word “ethics,” the result reads, “No Matches Found.”

Our Village needs an Ethics Commission.  How else could parties involved in complaints present their respective cases to determine if ethics violations did, or did not, occur? Listed below are typical practices that might arise in our Village, and in our opinion, may warrant investigation, understanding that there are no implications as to guilt or innocence of any on the list:

  • Should expensive legal battles, possibly precipitated by actions of elected and appointed Village officials, be investigated?
  • Should the hiring and retention of Village paid staff positions by elected family members be investigated?
  • Should contracts with vendors who maintain personal and professional relationships with elected Village officials and their families be investigated?
  • Should the solicitations of funds and hand selection of vendors by family members or close friends of elected Village officials, absent oversight by appointed Village committees, be investigated?

For these and other reasons, our Village needs to appoint an Ethics Commission to act as ombudsmen, when any question of potential maladministration or ethics violations is considered or occurs.

Candidates for this proposed commission could come from existing appointed Village bodies, ones whose objectivity would be unquestioned.

The perfect candidates for this roll are the incumbent members of the Board of Heath.  They are highly qualified, underutilized, and would prove to be an effective force in maintaining ethical governance of the Village of Barrington Hills.

Related:Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 1),” “Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 2),” “Better Government Association Commends Passage of Chicago Ethics Ordinance–Sees More to Do,” “What happened to ethics reform in Illinois government? Why watchdogs have some hope,” “Meanwhile, One Barrington Hills makes amends, extinguishes website and turns the volume down,” “Learn from your (big) mistake, Laura, Bryan, Dave and Tom,” “Agreed

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9.22 BOT

Our Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their regular monthly meeting beginning this evening at 6:30 PM. A copy of the agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

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51-Burkes

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Burke will retire Nov. 30, allowing her replacement to be appointed rather than elected. Her husband, Chicago Ald. Ed Burke, faces reelection in February and a corruption trial in late 2023.

Anne Burke’s term as Illinois Supreme Court chief justice ends Oct. 25 and then she’ll retire Nov. 30, with six years left on her term.

Justice Joy Cunningham was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Burke, according to the Illinois Supreme Court. Cunningham’s term begins Dec. 1 and runs through 2024, giving her two years on the high court before she faces election.

Illinois is one of only two states allowing their supreme courts to appoint interim judges, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Of the seven justices on the Illinois Supreme Court, six were appointed before their first elections.

Burke’s retirement will still involve legal proceedings as her husband faces a federal racketeering trial. Anne Burke is married to the longest-serving alderman in Chicago’s history, Ward 14 Ald. Ed Burke, who’s been in office since 1969. His trial is set for Nov. 6, 2023, but his next election is Feb. 28, 2023.

Ed Burke won re-election in February 2019 shortly after he was accused of multiple extortion attempts. For the second time, Ed Burke will face re-election while he’s the subject of a federal corruption probe. He’s seeking a 14th term.

Ed Burke was indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic added multiple delays to the proceedings. Pretrial motions from August 2020 didn’t get a ruling until this past June.

Ed Burke is charged with extorting two Burger King executives into using his law firm, Klafter & Burke. When they took their business elsewhere, an employee from Burke’s office said they’d resort to “hardball.”

Read on here.

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JB Trust

The governor’s promises to divest his vast portfolio of state contractors has not extended to his so-called blind trust, which has the governor’s money in at least a dozen companies with billions in state business

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s vast investment portfolio includes interests in a dozen for-profit companies that earned more than $20 billion in state business since he took office in 2019, a Better Government Association investigation has found.

In some cases, state dollars flowed to companies registered to lobby Pritzker, who as the state’s chief executive held enormous sway over their contracts.

The intersection between Pritzker’s personal bottom line and his role as governor comes despite his 2019 promise to divest his personal fortune of investments in state contractors and to transfer his multibillion-dollar portfolio into what he called a “blind trust.”

A BGA investigation of Pritzker’s holdings — including an examination of his annual economic interest disclosures, thousands of pages of state contracts, corporate filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Illinois secretary of state and gubernatorial email communications — shows at least 12 cases large and small in which the governor’s office and the agencies he oversees took action that created a potential conflict of interest for Pritzker.

Authorities on trust law and government ethics told the BGA because Pritzker must disclose each year what is in his blind trust, his promise to avoid conflicts of interest by remaining blind to his investments was both impractical and oversold.

“The term ‘blind trust’ is being used here as a thin shield to conceal the governor’s pursuit of personal profits,” said Bridget J. Crawford, a professor at Pace University’s law school who reviewed the BGA reporting. “This is not a blind trust in any meaningful sense of the phrase.”

Pritzker declined a BGA request to be interviewed for this report.

Read the full BGA report here.

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Gender Queer

A copy of “Gender Queer,” a graphic novel about a nonbinary teen, sits on a table during the Barrington District 220 school board meeting on Aug. 16, 2022, in Barrington. (H. Rick Bamman / Pioneer Press)

As the mother of five children, Barrington resident Marsha McClary approved of her hometown school district teaching students about the birds and the bees with what she described as a traditional, biology-based sex education program.

So when McClary heard Illinois lawmakers had passed legislation mandating that school districts teaching comprehensive sex education follow new standards created by a New York City-based nonprofit, McClary decided to do her homework.

“I read through the whole thing and in general, I thought, a lot of these things in the standards are wonderful, but then I got to page 21, and for me, that’s where the rubber meets the road,” said McClary, whose children are enrolled in Barrington School District 220.

In particular, McClary was troubled that the standards required that by the end of fifth grade, Illinois students should be able to “describe the role hormones play in the physical, social, cognitive, and emotional changes during adolescence and the potential role of hormone blockers on young people who identify as transgender.”

McClary was also alarmed to see a requirement that by the end of fifth grade students should be able to “distinguish between sex assigned at birth and gender identity and explain how they may or may not differ,” as well as “define and explain differences between cisgender, transgender, gender nonbinary, gender expansive, and gender identity” and understand that “gender expression and gender identity exist along a spectrum.”

“For an 11-year-old person, I’m just not OK with that,” McClary said.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act into law in August 2021, making Illinois the first state in the U.S. to formally pass legislation codifying new national sex education standards developed by SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change.

According to the SIECUS website, the nonprofit advances sex education as a means to create a “long-term culture shift that will positively impact all levels of society, particularly issues of gender and racial equity, sexuality, sexual and reproductive health, consent, personal safety, and autonomy.”

Read more here.

Related: “Controversial ‘Gender Queer’ will remain on the shelf at Barrington High, school board decides

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Cuba Township

Snow could be piled high around the suburbs this winter, if early predictions of a snowy and wet season prove correct.

A snowier, wetter winter may be in the cards for the Chicago region, according to the latest seasonal outlook from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.

The forecast shows that — along with a wide swath of the Midwest, including Indiana and much of Ohio — Illinois could see more precipitation than normal, while temperatures are predicted to remain near average levels.

One of the strongest indicators of a wet Chicago winter is the earth is in its third year of the naturally occurring weather phenomenon known as La Niña, which brings cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Its counterpart, El Niño, refers to warmer tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures.

Meteorologist Matthew Rosencrans said current forecasts are “very reflective” of past La Niña winters, which typically have favored above average precipitation for the Great Lakes region.

“On a year-to-year basis, El Niño or La Niña controls about 38% of your variance, and we are in a La Niña, a decently strong one, and very likely to be in a La Niña through the winter,” he said.

However, don’t load up on salt or buy a heavy duty snowblower just yet. Because we’re still four months away from the icy season, the center’s best models for the Midwest have a hit rate of just about 20%,

More here.

Related:Farmers’ Almanac releases winter prediction for Illinois

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Facts

The so-called “Workers’ Rights Amendment” would lead to substantial tax increases for working Illinoisans and small business owners.

The No. 1 priority of Illinois’ government unions in 2022 is to pass an amendment to the Illinois Constitution in November. They’ve branded the constitutional question as the “Workers’ Rights Amendment,” and they’re spending millions of dollars on misleading TV ads to promote it.

But Illinois voters won’t see the words “Workers’ Rights Amendment” at the top of the ballot. Instead, they’ll see a question labeled “Proposed Amendment to the 1970 Illinois Constitution.” That’s Amendment 1.

The plain text of Amendment 1 does four things:

  1. Creates a “fundamental right” for government workers to unionize and bargain, on par with the freedoms of speech and religion.
  2. Expands bargaining for government worker unions beyond wages and benefits to include broad new subjects, including “economic welfare.”
  3. Prohibits state and local lawmakers from passing taxpayer-friendly reforms, such as limits to the length of government union contracts or improved disciplinary measures for misconduct.
  4. Bans right to work, a policy that would prevent workers from being fired for refusing to pay money to a union.

Examined one by one, these elements show the amendment is much broader than proponents are claiming.

Illinois Policy Institute research shows, if approved, Amendment 1 would:

Here’s everything Illinoisans need to know about Amendment 1

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Aug 22 BOT

Our Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their regular monthly meeting beginning this evening at 6:30 PM. A copy of the agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

It’s doubtful the telephony issues have been corrected by the Cecola administration, but readers are welcome to call in and try once again to listen to the meeting.

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Aug R&B Meet

The Village Roads & Bridges Committee meets for the first time in four (4) months this afternoon at 4 PM.  The two topics on their agenda are:

  • 2022 Road Program Update, and
  • Detour Traffic

A copy of the agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

Related:Roads & Bridges Committee meeting canceled (again),” “County Line Road work to begin in Barrington Hills Monday,” “Hart Road in Barrington closing for five months beginning June 2

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RCBH-logo-4-1024x562

The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening in person and via Zoom at 7:00 PM. Topics on their agenda include:

  • Horizon Farms Update
  • Damaged John Deere 4700 Tractor
  • New Tractor/Mower Future Purchases, existing equipment update, and
  • Hills are Alive Event Preparations*

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here. Instructions for accessing the meeting remotely can be found here

*The Hills Are Alive Fall Festival returns to the Riding Center September 18th.

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