Bloomington erases history

By:  Diane Benjamin

It isn’t up to government to decide what documents might interest citizens, all documents belong to the citizens.

The new City website is up and running, I still haven’t heard why the City has a new website or when the Council approved it, but a lot of the information is missing!  Starting in 2011 and going backwards, AGENDAS for meetings are listed – but no Packets.  The packets are where all the supporting documents are located along with explanations of why items are on the agenda.  The agenda only lists what the City Manager/Mayor want the Council to approve.

What’s the effect?

FOIA requests have to be filed for missing information!  The City claims FOIA requests are a nuisance and cost too much staff time.  Wait until FOIA requests for around 144 missing packets are submitted!  Hint:  It would be much easier for IT to put them back on the website!

Here’s why it matters.  I need to look at David Hales original employment contract.  It’s not listed under Human Resources, or City Manager, but I was able to figure out what meeting the Council approved the contract – 12/8/2008.  From the agenda:

empagreeThe agenda doesn’t have the information I need, but it might have been in the packet.  Unfortunately, the packet is missing!

The packets are Bloomington’s history.  Actions taken by the City Council frequently wreak havoc years later.  (Think Coliseum)  The history needs to be available for research.

The City Clerk can now waste time with a FOIA request.

Attn:  Illinois Policy Institute:

Please repossess Bloomington’s transparency award!

See the 2011 information available here:  http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-222

Compare that to 2012 here:  http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-221

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Comments

  1. I agree with you but I believe the city’s policy is to keep the written records available for 5 years online. I’m not sure about the podcasts. The Council and the citizens are then at the merciy of whoever puts together a new packet which includes the “history” when it comes to voting on “recommendations” or making comments to the council.

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    • 5 years isn’t LONG enough!

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      • I know. Citizens (including those on the Cultural Commission) still don’t know what the increased sales tax was to be used for regarding the BCPA and Art Center. Even the details surrounding IMRF policy for the city are not online. FOIA requests are a pain to do for the requester. Maybe that’s the plan–discourage the inquiries.

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  2. Hmmm, brings to mind a rather odd quote-history wise.
    How fortunate for Governments, that the people they administer don’t think.
    Adolph Hitler

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  3. BLN VIEWS says:

    I think it’s interesting to ask the question, “what’s the affect”?
    I think that’s important.
    But, as well, I think its key to identify why the information is not available?
    Maybe the question intended to imply this.
    But to clarify it, may I, for the benefit of those who haven’t considered it?
    No doubt the City of Bloomington feels a need to hide information.
    Why?
    is the information being intentionally hid, or just not available for some procedural reason?
    Convenient?
    If the past (history) is forgotten, the future is at stake.
    Not many citizens dig for information (BLN one of the exceptions) and as a previous commentor noted, if the information is not readily there, it’s not pursued and incidents, facts and wrongs are quickly forgotten and/or dismissed.
    Such may be the City’s intentions.
    From an intelligence perspective, information is usually not concealed or hidden unless those in charge don’t want something found because something in question has occurred.
    Has the City of Bloomington engaged in activity that is somehow questionable? Illegal?
    Or, is it just that the Citizens have been lied to, deceived or just plain led down the wrong path for the benefit of those in power?
    All in all, the end result is the same.
    All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.
    BLN VIEWS

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    • I stopped reading at “affect.” Don’t you mean “effect?” If donated to one of your lame appeals for money, would you buy a dictionary? Maybe if you kept a better archive of past packets, or had a life, you wouldn’t need to review past packets.

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      • Sorry dude, I’ve got a bad cold that is making everything difficult!

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      • Rob, can you read? The previous commenter is named BNL Views not BLNNews. The content of his/her post is significantly of more value than yours.

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      • Rob, unless one prints out all of the packets (some are more than 400 pages) there is no way to “archive” them. Adding them as a bookmark on a computer is of no value once the packets are removed from the website. Seems you are less informed than I realized.

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      • Talking about hiding info, besides the packets, tax receipts, last year’s financial statements, Coliseum events not updated, add the live stream started tonight at 7:35. Gee, I wonder why!

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      • It was reported during the State of the City that the IPI has given Bloomington an A+ (100%) for transparency. Apparently the City got an award for pension funding but as I recall, the excellerated payments were reduced as part of the budget cuts last year. Apparently the city is on sound financial ground but who really knows for sure.

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    • What you missed was the State of the City…a comedy…Carefully crafted campaign propaganda.

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