CIRA: Explain please

By:  Diane Benjamin

According to this Pantagraph article:  http://www.pantagraph.com/business/local/olson-gets-contract-extension/article_c3a51735-c4ad-5cda-853b-7704ebcffb8a.html – the Executive Director of the airport (Carl Olson) just got a 2.5% raise.  It also states he was earning $172,365 per year.  The article is a glowing endorsement of the great job he is doing.  Funny, because in January the Pantagraph also reported traffic was down 8%:  http://www.pantagraph.com/business/local/fewer-flights-cut-cira-traffic-by/article_30505831-2111-5761-bc60-30dd530aa6e0.html

I just received documents by FOIA this week.  CIRA is even less transparent than the County, they have NO financial information on their website, they don’t even list the Freedom of Information officer.

One of the items I wanted was salaries of all employees.  What I received was this:  Copy of 2015 Medicare Wages.   Instead of actual data, I received a list of Medicare Wages.  That means employees could have been paid for things not subject to Medicare Tax and this is CIRA’s attempt to hide it.

But that’s not all.  If Carl Olson’s salary was really $172,365 in 2015, why did I receive this by FOIA:

Olson

 

 

See the Copy of 2015 Medicare Wages above.  Olson was obviously paid more than his contract allowed in 2015, or the Pantagraph reporting wasn’t correct.

The Illinois Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act require public bodies to post the following on the their website:

(Summary is from the Illinois Policy Institute:  https://www.illinoispolicy.org/policy-points/website-posting-requirements-for-local-governments-in-illinois/)

Open Meetings Act

The Open Meetings Act has the following requirements for public bodies:

Minutes posting

Any public body that has a website must post the minutes of a regular meeting of its governing body (i.e. County Board, Board of Trustees, Board of Commissioners, School Board, etc) on the website within 10 days after the approval of the minutes by the public body. Public bodies must approve the minutes of the previous meeting either by the next meeting or within 30 days, whichever is later. These minutes must stay on the website for at least 60 days after their initial posting.

Agenda posting

Public bodies that have a website must post the agenda of any regular meetings of the governing body (i.e. County Board, Board of Trustees, Board of Commissioners, School Board, etc) at least 48 hours prior to said meeting. Any agenda of a regular meeting that is posted on a public body’s website shall remain posted until the regular meeting is concluded.

Calendar posting

Public bodies that have a website must post an annual schedule of meetings of the governing body (i.e. County Board, Board of Trustees, Board of Commissioners, etc). This annual schedule shall remain on the website until a new public notice of the schedule of regular meetings is approved.

Public meeting notice

Public bodies that have a website must post notice of all meetings of the governing body (i.e. County Board, Board of Trustees, Board of Commissioners, School Board, etc). Any notice of an annual schedule of meetings shall remain on the website until a new public notice of the schedule of regular meetings is approved. Any notice of a regular meeting that is posted on a public body’s website shall remain posted on the website until the regular meeting is concluded.

Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act requires public bodies that have websites to post at least the following information:

  1. A short summary of its purpose
  2. A block diagram giving its functional subdivisions
  3. The total amount of its operating budget
  4. The number and location of all of its separate offices
  5. The approximate number of full and part-time employees
  6. The identification and membership of any board, commission, committee, or council which operates in an advisory capacity relative to the operation of the public body, or which exercises control over its policies or procedures, or to which the public body is required to report and be answerable for its operations
  7. The website must also include a brief description of the methods the public may use to request information and public records, a directory of the Freedom of Information officer(s), the address where requests sent, and any fees.

Link to the Illinois law summarized above:  http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?actid=84&chapterid=2

CIRA has nothing.

Why the secrecy?  Where there is smoke . . .

The airport hasn’t been as successful as hoped.  Right now Bloomington and Normal taxpayers pay for a lot of the budget.  They have plans to expand the tax authority to the whole County.  More on that later.

(Of course, I filed another FOIA)

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “CIRA: Explain please

  1. I’m curious if the 172k salary includes other benefits of his contract? Vehicle allowance or other perks? I’m pretty sure that he’s not local and would be surprised if he retired here. How has he continued to increase his value to the community when numbers continue to slump?

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      1. If the airports board is appointed by the town, city and county governments….where is the accountability? Easy for them to pad in a salary like that. Also curious, according to the site, why there is such a disparity in salaries for the employees? Seems like highway robbery…..

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