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  •  The Lutherbrook campus in Addison includes a school and residential treatment center for children ages 6 to 18 who have suffered trauma.

    Police reports reveal ‘troubling’ cases at Lutherbrook Jul 28, 2013 12:00 AM
    A sexual encounter, a knife in a classrom and an attack on a teen are among troubling occurrences at Lutherbrook that have caught the attention of the Cook County public guardian. But leaders of the Addison treatment center for traumatized youth say the facility is all about healing and helping children.

     
  • Huntley Village Manager David Johnson received a $10,108 raise this year.

    Municipal administrators are getting big raisesJul 24, 2013 12:00 AM
    After years of pay freezes, most suburban municipal administrators are receiving raises this year, according to an analysis of 74 suburbs in six counties. In fact, 55 suburban administrators are averaging a 3.7 percent average pay hike, with Huntley's village manager getting a $10,018 raise, Aurora's getting $10,586 and Prospect Heights' getting $10,000.

     
  • Debbie Herrmann

    Ex-Island Lake mayor knew of controversial robocall scriptJul 19, 2013 12:00 AM
    Former Island Lake Mayor Debbie Herrmann knew about the preparation of a controversial robocall that went out days before April's election, a Lake County state's attorney's office investigation has revealed. But after three months, investigators have uncovered no criminal wrongdoing connected to the robocall. “(It's) simply wrong,” State's Attorney Mike Nerheim said.

     
  •  The Island Lake man who stands to receive a $20,000 payout from the village for settling a lawsuit is married to the treasurer of Mayor Charles Amrich’s campaign committee, state records show.

    Husband of Island Lake mayor’s campaign treasurer getting $20,000 from village Jul 13, 2013 12:00 AM
    The Island Lake man who stands to receive a $20,000 payout from the village for settling a politically tinged libel lawsuit is married to the new treasurer of Mayor Charles Amrich’s campaign committee, state records show. “Anytime you have one donor bigfoot an election in that way, it raises questions about whose priorities are driving the conversation,” said David Morrison, acting director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

     
  • Jeanne Ives

    Where is your town hiding its salary report?Jul 3, 2013 12:00 AM
    Of all the information available on a municipality's website, salary details for most department heads should be one of the easiest things to find. After all, a state law dictates that current compensation records for highly paid employees “must” be posted online. So why are the reports so hard to find? “There was an absence of guidance in that regard from the legislature,” said Ray Keller, Gilberts village administrator.

     
  • Of the more than $1 million spent by 97 Batavia Unit District 101 employees using district-issued purchase cards last year, almost $25,000 was spent on food, according to district financial records.

    Why $25,000 in food on Batavia school charge cards? Jun 19, 2013 12:00 AM
    Batavia Unit District 101 purchase cards were used by employees 253 times last year to buy almost $25,000 worth of food and other goods totaling more than $1 million. District officials signed off on all the purchases and contend checks and balances are in place to make sure use of the 97 cards is justified, but one taxpayer disagrees. “They're not really being good stewards of the taxpayers' dollars,” Carl Dinwiddie says.

     
  • Wayne Schnell

    Ex-chief pressured workers to file complaints against Island lake cop, memo shows Jun 19, 2013 12:00 AM
    Former Island Lake Police Chief Bill McCorkle coerced two department employees to file harassment complaints against a part-time officer who quit in 2010 but recently was reinstated, newly released reports show.

     
  • Bacteria levels in Woods Creek Lake at Indian Trail Beach in Lake in the Hills were so high last year that the beach should have been closed for 10 days, but because of lag times in testing the beach was closed for only eight days.

    How you could swim in filth at suburban beaches Jun 12, 2013 12:00 AM
    Due to a lag in the time it takes the state to test water samples, beachgoers may be frolicking in filth. Illinois Department of Public Health officials said it can take as much as two days for test results on water samples with dangerously high bacteria levels to be discovered. “That's one of the flaws in the system,” said Melaney Arnold, IDPH spokeswoman.

     
  • Taxpayers in 27 suburban school districts paid salaries of teachers and staff attending a union conference, and paid some or all of the costs of substitute workers, as well.

    Union teacher conference costs some taxpayers twice Jun 5, 2013 12:00 AM
    Taxpayers in 57 suburban school districts spent more than $200,000 on the salaries of 276 teachers and other employees for days spent attending a union conference in April. In some of those school districts, taxpayers picked up the cost of substitutes, as well, while in others the union covered those costs.

     
  • State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat said of the provision “It sounds preposterous. i don't know how you get that and a survivor's annuity. This is the first I've heard about this.”

    How a retired teacher's pension adds up to $400,000May 29, 2013 12:00 AM
    A provision so obscure it caught several of Illinois' top legislative pension experts by surprise allows survivors of some former public employees to take over their deceased spouses' pensions as well as receive survivor benefits. “It sounds preposterous,” said state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat. “I don't know how you get that and a survivor's annuity. This is the first I've heard about this.”

     
  • Lisa Madigan

    Appeals for public information spike 22 percentMay 15, 2013 12:00 AM
    Illinois residents have the benefit of new laws aimed at opening up more government records — and when they don't get the information they want, they're raising a stink about it. Appeals to the Illinois attorney general's office for denied Freedom of Information Act requests jumped 22 percent last year. Most of those came from members of the public.

     
  • Taxpayers covered more than $7.7 million between 2006 and 2012 to compensate retiring Illinois State Police officers for unused time off.

    Unused state police time off cost taxpayers $7.7 millionMay 8, 2013 12:00 AM
    Taxpayers spent more than $7.7 million to cover unused time off for 134 former Illinois State Police troopers who retired between 2006 and 2012. Money paid for unused sick time and vacation time made up the bulk of that total, along with funds for personal, compensatory and holiday time that went unused.

     
  • Illinois collected nearly $6 billion more in taxes and fees in 2012 than it did the previous year, thanks in large part to the income tax rate increase.

    Illinois nets almost $6 billion more in taxes in 2012 Apr 24, 2013 12:00 AM
    Nearly $6 billion more taxes and fees were collected by Illinois in 2012 than the year before. That's the greatest increase of any state in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's annual State Government Tax Collections report that was released a few days ago. The increase from $30.6 billion to $36.4 billion represents a 19.1 percent spike in the state's total tax haul.

     
  • Analysis of suburban school districts shows there’s no significant financial benefit for teachers who have retirement contributions paid for them by the district versus teachers who cover those costs themselves.

    Does it matter if districts cover teacher contributions? Apr 17, 2013 12:00 AM
    Illinois teachers are supposed to put 9.4 percent of their salaries toward their pensions. Yet teachers in at least 27 suburban school districts have some or all of their retirement contributions paid on their behalf by the district. But it's not as nefarious as it sounds. Those districts are among about 600 school districts or education cooperatives across the state that provide a similar benefit, according to an annual salary study by the Illinois State Board of Education.

     
  • More than 60 percent of the 2,100-plus local races in Tuesday's election are uncontested, according to an analysis of ballots in five collar counties.

    Uncontested races likely mean status quo on local taxesApr 3, 2013 12:00 AM
    A lack of ballot competition in Tuesday's election means many homeowners aren't likely to see much in the way of policy change when it comes to property taxes. While voters will make key choices in some local races, more than 60 percent of the 2,100-plus races that will be decided in suburban Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties are uncontested

     
  • Bruce Rauner

    Potential governor hopeful Rauner claimed extra exemptionsMar 29, 2013 12:00 AM
    A likely Republican gubenatorial bidder improperly claimed three homeowner exemptions for a number of years, a Daily Herald investigation has found. After being notified of the error Wednesday afternoon, Bruce Rauner Thursday paid Cook County $1,616 to cover the extra tax savings he received, spokesman Chip Englander said.

     
  • Ronald D. Culver

    Dist. 95 settles teacher molestation suit Mar 24, 2013 12:00 AM
    Lake Zurich Unit District 95 has settled one of two lawsuits claiming officials ignored complaints regarding inappropriate sexual conduct by a high school teacher toward a student about eight months before criminal charges were filed against him in 2010. Without comment and without admitting liability, elected officials last month agreed to pay $192,000 to settle the suit.

     
  • Taxpayers' pension fund contributions up 172% in 10 yearsMar 13, 2013 12:00 AM
    Pension obligations for local government employees cost Illinois taxpayers $500 million more than it did 10 years ago. The state's 3,000-plus municipalities, counties, libraries, park districts, townships and other local agencies that pay into the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund spent $800,804,253 in 2011 to cover retirement benefits for 175,844 employees. That's up 172 percent.

     
  • More than 42 percent of the former educators who have retired from Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 receive pensions of more than $100,000 a year, while statewide less than 4 percent of retired educators receive six-figure pensions.

    Pensions top $100,000 for 42% of District 211 retired educators Mar 6, 2013 12:00 AM
    In Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211, 42.5 percent of retired educators receive pensions of more than $100,000 a year, according to state retirement system data. Other suburban schools, including Stevenson High School District 125, Leyden High School District 212 and Fenton High School District 100, aren't far behind. Across the suburbs, 7 percent of retired public school educators get six-figure pensions, compared to less than 1 percent downstate.

     
  • Vincent TeRonde

    Lake Zurich gives 'last chance' to veteran police officer involved in alcohol-related crashFeb 18, 2013 12:00 AM
    Despite being accused of drunk driving after an off-duty crash last year, Lake Zurich police officer Vincent TeRonde has been allowed to keep his job. TeRonde, a longtime volunteer leader of the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots campaign in the village, received a rare "last chance employment agreement," according to documents obtained from Lake Zurich police through a Daily Herald Freedom of Information Act request.

     
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