Daily Herald's print edition.
Articles filed under On Guard
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
School conference hotels, food, travel cost taxpayers $277,086Feb 13, 2013 12:00 AM
Come for the conference, stay for the hotel room, $57 steak dinner, valet parking and laundry service. Those are just some of the extra costs taxpayers in 89 suburban school districts covered for board members and administrators who attended a November conference in Chicago. The districts racked up $277,086.17 in hotel, food, travel and incidental costs over the weekend-long conference.
Area schools spend $574,197 during weekend in city Feb 6, 2013 12:00 AM
It cost suburban taxpayers $574,197.48 to send 735 school board members and district administrators back to the classroom. The price tag for a weekend-long conference last November includes rooms at downtown Chicago hotels and many free meals, but the heftiest portion of the tab comes from the nearly $300,000 spent on registration fees for seminars, workshops and classes.
District's tab for weekend in Chicago: $13,756Jan 30, 2013 12:00 AM
Taxpayers in Fox Lake Elementary District 114 paid for movies, a limo ride and nearly $1,600 in parking fees that were part of a $13,756.20 tab racked up by school board members and administrators at a conference in Chicago nearly three months ago. “The days are filled, so it's not like we're going down there and goofing around,” said Superintendent John Donnellan. “Do I think they abuse it? No.”
Conviction for molesting girl doesn't stop retired Round Lake Beach cop's pensionJan 20, 2013 12:00 AM
Round Lake Beach taxpayers continue to provide a pension for retired police officer Leroy Kuffel, who was convicted of molesting a 16-year-old girl and is on a law-enforcement agency's sex-offender registry. Mayor Richard Hill said the village has determined it can't halt Kuffel's pension. “We don't want to exhaust any more (village) funds,” he said of fighting the pension.
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- Schaumburg gives green light to Zurich American HQ
- Streamwood's Fireside Ale House off to a good start
- Cubs wait on Almora
- Residents call for Dist. 54 chief's firing after DUI charge
- '3 Days' really two bad movies in one
- Park Ridge boy in Amber Alert found unharmed
- Lake County lawmakers want to dissolve Fox Waterway Agency
- Suburban doctor charged with illegally dispensing OxyContin
- Algonquin man on 'most wanted' list arrested
- Ex-Addison cop facing multiple charges gets $200,000 bond
- Religious leaders unite against graffiti attacks
- Small business owners sound off in Elgin
- Route 137 opening has immediate impact
- Residents call for Dist. 54 chief's firing after DUI charge
- Get ready for a huge loss of tax money
- Duckworth shines bright in first term
- Lake Park pool push getting mixed reviews
- COD trustees reimbursed for driving to meetings
- Land of opportunity now of opportunism
- First concealed carry permits could be issued next week
- Streamwood firehouse reopens 4 years after closing
- Wauconda administrator earns praise
- Plan calls for white water rafting on Fox River
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