Articles filed under On Guard

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  • Dist. 95 settles teacher molestation suit Mar 24, 2013 6:42 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 years Mar 13, 2013 9:17 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 10:57 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 crash Feb 19, 2013 5:34 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 $277,086 Feb 13, 2013 1:41 PM
    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 7, 2013 10:23 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: $13,756 Jan 30, 2013 3:07 PM
    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 pension Jan 21, 2013 7:48 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.

  • What would teacher pension shift do to your taxes? Jan 16, 2013 9:15 AM
    How much would it cost average suburban homeowners to have the state's pension obligations for teachers shifted to them? It turns out, about $160 more a year, an analysis shows.

  • Which suburbs levy highest taxes per person? Jan 10, 2013 4:00 PM
    For each of its 4,209 residents, tony Barrington Hills collected nearly $1,618 in property taxes in 2010. On the other end of the spectrum, Prospect Heights collected a little more than $16 in property taxes for each of the city's 16,256 residents. Among 83 suburbs spread throughout six counties, Barrington Hills has the highest per capita property tax collection of any of the suburbs. Where does your town fall?

  • Kildeer District 96's $4,281 board meeting with $7 sodas Dec 26, 2012 5:28 AM
    The $350 officials from Kildeer Countryside District 96 spent on the meeting room at Chicago's InterContinental Hotel would be one of the cheapest expenditures for the school board's Nov. 16 meeting. Taxpayers living in the Buffalo Grove-based school district also covered $988 for 26 continental breakfasts, $1,638 for 26 lunches, $72 for nine bottles of iced tea and $392 for 2˝ cases of soda. That's $7 per soda.

  • Property tax burden grows for homeowners Dec 19, 2012 2:23 PM
    Illinois homeowners are shouldering more of the property tax burden than ever before. Meanwhile, the share of property taxes paid by commercial and industrial property owners shrank. Much of the increase is fueled by shifts in Cook and DuPage counties, where the proportion paid by homeowners increased 11.3 and 4.6 percentage points, respectively, from 2001 to 2010.

  • Suburban mayors accuse agency of mismanagement, nepotism Dec 5, 2012 6:30 AM
    The Illinois Municipal League was formed as a way for towns across the state to stand as one on legislative and other issues that affect them. Now, however, the group itself is divided, with several suburban mayors claiming mismanagement of the taxpayer-supported organization and calling for the jobs of agency leaders.

  • Local property tax levies up $3.5 billion since '05 Nov 21, 2012 9:32 AM
    Property tax levies in the suburbs and Chicago collectively increased by almost $3.5 billion in 2010 compared to just five years earlier, Suburban Tax Watchdog Jake Griffin writes. Much of that was in school districts in the six suburban counties and Chicago, which levied $2.2 billion more in 2010 than they received in 2005.

  • Change after the chaos in Kane coroner's office Nov 19, 2012 9:42 AM
    Documents from the Kane County sheriff's office's criminal investigation into former Coroner Chuck West paint a picture of a divided, unproductive office bordering on chaos in summer 2010 as he sought to find out who contacted authorities about allegations of criminal wrongdoing. Now, “(the office) has a whole different feel to it,” said Kane board member Mark Davoust.

  • Pension loophole could mean $500,000 more for ex-Grayslake cop Nov 14, 2012 2:11 PM
    A loophole in the state's police pension law could cost Grayslake taxpayers an extra $500,000 over the next 20 years that would benefit just a single former police sergeant. Former Grayslake Police Sgt. Conrad Gutraj is entitled to not just one annual 3 percent cost-of-living pension increase, but two, a Lake County judge has ruled.

  • Retired Naperville police chief gets $50,000 for 3 months work Nov 9, 2012 8:15 AM
    Five days after retiring as Naperville police chief, David Dial quietly returned to the city payroll as a consultant to help the department he just left. He was paid about $47,000 in wages and benefits for three months before leaving for his new job at Aurora University, according to his contract, which was obtained this week by the Daily Herald through a Freedom of Information request.

  • Taxpayers to cover big OT costs for Dec. 24 election filing snafu Oct 31, 2012 6:08 AM
    What’s worse than a lump of coal in your stocking? Perhaps working Christmas Eve at an otherwise closed local government office all because of a quirk in the state’s election law that could cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. “It’s a big concern because of the cost of keeping these places open, especially places where they’re already cutting costs,” said state Rep. Fred Crespo.

  • Illinois legislative paychecks add up to $15 million Oct 24, 2012 5:30 AM
    Illinois taxpayers spent nearly $15 million on salaries, stipends, allowances and mileage reimbursements for 214 current and former legislators last year for 77 days in session. Party leaders made the most thanks to stipends that also help increase the legislators' pensions. "What are we getting for it?” asked David From, Illinois state director of Americans for Prosperity.

  • Sears regularly gets multimillion-dollar property tax cuts Oct 21, 2012 7:11 AM
    Last year, after an extended and highly public battle, including mass protests by supporters of Community Unit District 300, Sears Holdings Corp. won state approval of millions of dollars in tax breaks for its Hoffman Estates headquarters. Much more quietly, Sears in recent years also has won millions in property tax breaks through the complex, multilayered Cook County property assessment appeals system.

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