Renner’s rant

Update at:  https://blnnews.com/2013/12/22/mayor-transparency-exposed/

by:  Diane Benjamin

On November 15th, Alderwoman Judy Stearns walked out of an Executive Session of the Bloomington City Council.  Executive Sessions are SECRET meetings governed by laws created by the State of Illinois.  These laws are meant to protect citizens by severely restricting what CAN be discussed in these SECRET meetings.

When Alderwoman Stearns walked out, she stated that she was leaving BECAUSE the topics being discussed were illegal and she would file the violation with the Attorney General’s Public Access office.  The entire Council, Mayor Renner, and City Manager David Hales WAS aware of her statement.  Not one of the these people discussed this with Ms. Stearns after the executive session ended.  I would think they would be anxious to resolve the matter before the Attorney General was brought in to rule.  They obviously believed she would not file a complaint with the AG’s office.   Alderwoman Stearns had no choice but to file.  She was an unwilling participant in an activity that violated the law.  Her oath of office would have meant nothing is she had sat through the illegal meeting.

I did talk to Alderman Lower.  He stated the tape will show he supported Alderwoman Stearn’s reasons for leaving.  He also stated he asked for compliance with the law or he would leave too.  Eventually individual employees were discussed as the law requires.  Lower feels that eventually the law was complied with.  Is eventually good enough?  The rest of the Council, the City Manager, and the Mayor must think so.  The Attorney General will make that decision.

Bloomington:  Keep in mind that these are the same Council members who voted to NOT release the minutes of executive sessions!  They had to be forced by the AG’s office to review the minutes, they voted to keep most of what has been discussed in the past a SECRET.  They voted to NOT release former City Manger Tom Hamilton’s evaluations.  They praised him as City Manger, gave him large raises, and then totally blamed him for the City’s financial mess when he left.  The majority of the Council says YOU have NO right to know what is said in Executive Sessions.

Mayor Renner’s defense is everything discussed in the SECRET session, except employees,  was later discussed in public.  Mayor:  That is not a defense!  It is not permissible to discuss anything in executive session not explicitly outlined in the law.  You are not allowed to discuss culture changes in a long diatribe before getting to what is legal to discuss.  Here is the summary provided by the Attorney general:  http://foia.ilattorneygeneral.net/pdf/FAQ_OMA_Government.pdf

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The law doesn’t say long diatribes can take place prior to the approved discussions.  The law doesn’t say the Mayor can demand complete loyalty from the Council.  It doesn’t say unanimous votes can be required of the Council.  Culture change (still undefined by the Mayor) isn’t covered either.  The only culture change evident to date is more secrecy-why else would a little town need a Communications director?  Why would Renner demand the Council have David Hales’ back?  How can the Council have Hales’ back when they don’t know what the agenda is?

Mayor Renner has been on WJBC Friday and Saturday bashing Alderwoman Stearns.  He wasn’t content with just bashing Ms. Stearns in public.  He decided to write to the Council too.  He is correct on many things, but for incorrect reasons.  

Let’s hear you demand loyalty in public Mayor!  Release the tape if you are convinced you are right!  Redact the discussions about specific employees, but release the rest!  You state over and over again that everything was made public in open session!  Why wait until the AG rules?

Is it so difficult for Mayor Transparency to understand the Council represents the people in their Ward.  The Council is not there to comply with whatever idea the Mayor and City Manager have for Bloomington.  The rubber stamp 7 don’t understand their role, but as a Political Science professor, I assumed you did.  When Alderwoman Stearns specifically said she was going to file, what didn’t you believe about what she said?  

Below is the email Mayor Renner sent to the Council.  He admits to discussing in executive Session what was later discussed in public.  That Mayor Transparency is a violation.  Executive Sessions aren’t for making sure everybody knows their place before plans are made public.

Exactly what agenda would Ms. Stearns have for filing Mr. Mayor?  Transparency?  Complying with the law?  Let’s hear what agenda you think she has!  Your response is the classic attempt to marginalize Alderwoman Stearns.  She is upholding her oath of office as she understands it.  Where does the rest of the Council stand?  Are you waiting for the Attorney General to rule and then you will be on her side?

Mayor:  Your attempt to declare Stearns a villain diminishes your credibility.  Maybe listening to Council member’s opinions when expressed would have been prudent.

Subject: OMA and Council Retreat
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 2013I just read the letter sent to the AG’s office that will be reported on by Rachel Wells.
I’m surprised because, as I told the Pantagraph, (and will respond to future media outlets) this is absolutely ridiculous! Frankly, that’s being charitable!
The letter reflects no deep understanding or wisdom about the OMA or the nature of communications among elected officials duly attempting to responsibly discharge their
duties. The conversation we had at the retreat would not have been possible outside an executive session. It is terribly disappointing that this is not universally understood by all of us.
Again, this letter clearly is a diatribe from someone with an agenda.
I’m certain that anyone one in AG’s office will see this for precisely what it is.
I encourage everyone to read the legal materials we have from the Illinois Municipal League (I’ve got copies in my office). The entire nature of the materials, and the decisions of the Courts, will give us
the ‘big picture’ on these issues.
The Courts do reflect a broad understanding of policy-making that is totally absent from the letter sent to the Public Access Counselor. Again, this letter “is what it is.”
As Mayor, I would not be true to my responsibilities as an elected executive if I let things such as this go unanswered. So, I absolutely assure everyone that won’t happen.
Please re-read the letter. Closer inspection reveals the illogic and empirical inaccuracies.
The public already knows absolutely everything about this proposal and policy!
That was extensively reported by the Pantagraph the next day.
That’s all the more reason why the motives are exposed in the their raw form.
Again, there is nothing here that was not transparent – except the discussion among elected and appointed officials surrounding specific situations and employees.
The fact that this whole incident might harm our city or morale is an important consequence when an individual elected official attempts to just throw bombs because they’re not happy or don’t understand
something.
Please do not RSVP to all on this.
If you have individual responses, feel free to send them to me.
Tari Renner

13 thoughts on “Renner’s rant

  1. If A G office investigastion is true to form,there should be some up-coming changes made at the council, Mayor level,with procedures of conducting busisness

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  2. I think the Mayor and city manager do not understand that individuals such as Alderman Stearns represent their constituents first and foremost and have a responsibility to uphold the legal procedures expected of the Mayor and council members. They were not elected to go along and stay silent when they have legitimate questions regarding procedures.

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  3. As usual Diane, almost everything you’ve said is totally untrue and inaccurate!
    When we had conversations in the past, I thought you had some degree of
    integrity. But, clearly I was totally mistaken.
    But your actions speak louder than your words!
    Your actions demonstrate that you’re clearly not concerned about decency or truth.
    Just you’re own ego or some other psychological problem(s).
    In this situation, as usual, you have no concept of reality! Everything was made public on the very same day!
    Nothing was withheld from the public – except the specific
    names of employees.
    Again, you can just throw irresponsible ‘bombs’ that have no morale compass or purpose except self aggrandizement.
    YOU need to be held accountable Diane!

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    1. Cloward and Piven Tari? Release the tape and prove me wrong! What is the purpose of Executive Sessions? They are suppose to be discussions of things that need to be private. Discussing whatever later in the day defeats the whole purpose and violates the law – Mr. Professor.

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  4. Diane,
    Come to a Mayoral Open House or some public forum so you make your case!
    Your BS will become apparent to anyone not on their meds.
    I’m copying my comments to see if you just delete them.
    If you do, it will be interesting to see how you defend your actions in public.
    I have no problems doing so because I have nothing to hide and am confident that
    I’ve done the right thing .
    I doubt you feel the same way!

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  5. I haven’t followed the Bloomington council meetings closely since we are outside of the area but whenever I have read something, I have always been impressed with Ms Stearns willingness to stand up to the status quo.

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  6. I am shocked at our Mayor, City Manager and most of our Alderman. First of all for a Mayor to “demand” loyalty from a City Council is without a doubt over-stepping the law and an abuse of power. We are thankful for a good Alderman like Judy Stearns of our 4th Ward. She is in there representing her constituents, We The People as Americans. It saddens me that the whole council did not walk out of this meeting and join Judy in her complaint. I did not vote for Mayor Renner in the first place which I explained to him because we are on opposite ends in our political views. I like Tari Renner as a person but I warned as many as I could to not vote for him as Mayor because of his support and campaign work he did in 2007 at Camp Obama to help then Senator Obama get to be President. Tari is a left-wing Progressive though he is good at pandering to the right-wing conservatives he is a liberal. I find it somewhat strange that a Professor of Political Science would be a left-wing Progressive because he should know the dangers of the history of Socialism which is what these Progressives are all about in their Saul Alinsky agenda to destroy out Constitution, American Heritage and rebuild it into their Socialist utopia. Though history shows that Socialism is NEVER a utopia but a nightmare of death and genocide which leads to tyrannical dictatorships!. Just like Obama and his Progressive regime at the top of our Federal government who has no respect or concern for our laws and Constitution now we can see these Progressives in our city government following the same Saul Alinsky pattern. Obama is being used as a modern day Adolph Hitler by these left-wing Progressives. Check the beliefs of the Nazis in Germany from 1933 to 1945. They believed in saving Mother Earth because they were paganistic believers. They believed in Environmentalism and Recycle. They believed in a One World Government/New World Order. They attacked the family of man with woman by pushing the gay homosexual agenda. They attacked the rights of smokers and smoking was banned. They attacked the rights of honest gun owners with their ignorant gun control laws that only effected the honest citizens who obeyed the law yet not the law breaking criminals and eventually they banned guns from the people. They had their great Fuhrer (messiah), Adolph Hitler to lead their dictatorship. They were just like today’s Progressives with their Obama! You see back in 1933 the Chancellor of Germany, Adolph Hitler, could decree laws without any involvement by the elected Reichstag. Hitler and his Nazis had passed the Reichstagsbrandverordnung, also called the “Reichstag Fire Decree” because of the burning down of the Reichstag building by terrorists which eliminated most of the citizens civil liberties in much the same way that our “Patriot Act” did because of the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attack. We will most likely see more comprehensive “Enabling Acts” like the NDAA granting more and more un-Constitutional powers to this President Obama. I believe Barack Obama’s Goal is to eliminate Christians and people who Love America and our Liberty, Justice and the Rule of Law. Obama is a Hitleristic narcissist and he wants to be absolute ruler! It is scary to see these Kool-aide drinking, cult following, Obama worshipers called “Progressives.” As for our city manager David Hales, I have stood up for him to others who were against him because I believed that he was a good Christian Mormon and a pro-Reagan conservative but after my Alderman revealing this un-Constitutional city power grab behind our backs I guess I have to come to grips that he is not the leader I thought he was. As a devout Mormon David should know the book of Mormon much better then I because he grew up in the Mormon church. To any TRUE Mormon our Constitution of our United States should be of revered and highly respected! As in Doctrine and Covenants 109:54, “Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy upon the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever.” If David Hales really believes this as a Mormon then he should know not to be a part of any city leadership that would forbid city officials from speaking anything negative about him as our city manager because that is a violation of their 1st Amendment Freedom of speech. Also he should know that by OUR Constitution it is We The People who are the government and city, county, state and federal political officials are to “represent” us and not control US. That is the problem with the left-wing Progressive government we see today, it no longer wants to be public servants to represent us but it wants to be our masters to control and enslave us with the guise and mask of provide and protect us!

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  7. Lengthy but well written…I would like to know if the Mayor and City manager are still pursuing the idea of a hotel next to the Colliseum. The Colliseum is an excellent example of what government should not do and trying to run a hotel would be my next example.

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  8. Tari Renner is a GOOD Mayor – a Mayor that is proactively working to make Bloomington a better place. Tari should be praised for his efforts to take on the stagnant and unresponsive bureaucrats that have infested city hall since the Tom Hamilton days. While I normally agree with Diane, in this case she is WRONG. Tari Renner is a good man and a great Mayor that is working hard for ALL OF US.

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    1. There are laws that must be filed about Executive Sessions. If citizens don’t hold government accountable, nobody will. Tari could be the greatest mayor of all time – if he doesn’t follow the law, the laws are meaningless.

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